Close this search box.

Learn about PB

  1. Home
  2. Learn About PB

What is participatory budgeting?

See the latest updates from the field

Looking for resources to dig deeper?

What is PB?

Participatory budgeting (PB) is a democratic process in which community members decide how to spend part of a public budget. It gives people real power over real money.

PB started in Porto Alegre, Brazil, in 1989, as an anti-poverty measure that helped reduce child mortality by nearly 20%. Since then PB has spread to over 7,000 cities around the world, and has been used to decide budgets from states, counties, cities, housing authorities, schools, and other institutions.

The New York Times calls PB “revolutionary civics in action”—  it deepens democracy, builds stronger communities, and creates a more equitable distribution of public resources.

Where is PB happening?

PBP has worked directly with community leaders in dozens of cities and institutions in the US and Canada to plan and run PB processes, and our work has inspired dozens more processes. Click here or see below for a map of where PB is happening and for more detailed profiles of a few key processes.

PB Impacts

Doing participatory budgeting (PB) sparks a variety of powerful, lasting impacts across a community.

Stronger civil society:

New community leaders:

More equitable and effective public spending: