• About the Project
  • Indicators: What We Measure
    Sectors
    What is Civic Vitality?
    Civic vitality reflects a community’s connectedness and bonds of trust, or social capital, created through neighborliness, friendship, kinship, civil discourse and collaboration. These are strengthened by places to gather, open access to information, opportunities for civic and electoral engagement, effective leadership and philanthropic giving -- although these same assets can be used to exclude outsiders.

    More...

    What is Cultural Life & the Arts?
    The Cultural Life & the Arts sector reflect a community’s cultural vibrancy –it includes all of its diverse ethnic traditions and festivals, opportunities for art and music making and enjoyment, venues for the performing and visual arts, architectural heritage, museums and public art.

    More...

    What is the Economy?
    An economy is the sum total of an area’s production, distribution, consumption and exchange of goods and services resulting from investments of labor and financial capital in the use of that area’s natural, human and technological resources.  

    More...

    What is Education?
    Education is the process by which skills, knowledge and values are transmitted from teacher to student while, at the same time, each student’s potential to think and act logically, creatively and critically is being developed.  

    More...

    What is Environment & Energy?
    The environment encompasses an area’s natural resources – land, air, fresh and marine water, wildlife habitat and biodiversity, and the commercial and recreational uses they support – and their intersection with energy sources for and emissions from transportation, commerce, industry and home heating and cooling systems, along with the local effects of global climate change.

    More...

    What is Health?
    For an individual, health is physical and mental freedom from acute illness, chronic disease and injury reflecting a good diet, adequate exercise, environmental and behavioral safety and genetic good luck. Individual health outcomes are greatly affected by socio-economic and community-level factors such as access to affordable healthy food, opportunities for exercise, recreation, supportive relationships, degree of exposure to environmental toxins and unsafe conditions, and the quality of one’s education and housing.

    More...

    What is Housing?
    Housing meets the basic human need for shelter; for most households it is a major expense or investment that can lead to economic security or insecurity. Housing is also a fundamental building block of livable, vibrant communities and, when blighted it is a source of community destabilization.

    More...

    What is Public Safety?
    Public safety is the peace of mind that results from the effective prevention of and/or response to events that endanger or threaten both individuals and the general public with physical, emotional or financial harm. Public safety encompasses both violent and non-violent crime, from domestic and street violence to cyber-security and white-collar crime.
    What is Technology?
    Technology is the development and use of tools, methods and skills to achieve a goal. From arrowheads and the control of fire to ploughs, wheels, engines and computer chips, new technologies change our relationship to the natural world and to the ways in which we live, work, connect and create. 

    More...

    What is Transportation?

    Transportation is the movement of cargo -- people, animals or material goods – from one place to another. Modes of transportation in contemporary life include walking, bicycling, cars, buses, trucks, aircraft, freight and passenger trains, subways, ships and boats.

    More...

    Crosscut Topics
    Boston Neighborhoods
    Boston is a city of neighborhoods – some, like Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan, are as large as some of Massachusetts’ bigger cities, while others, such as Charlestown, are town-sized. Within each of Boston’s sixteen neighborhoods, designated by the Boston Redevelopment Authority as Boston’s official planning districts, are micro-communities, each with its’ own unique characteristics, populations, assets, and challenges.  
    Children & Youth

    Children mirror a community’s values, progress and challenges. If a community’s children are thriving, it is likely that the whole community is doing well. The Boston Indicators Project tracks progress through 2030—Boston’s 400th Anniversary - when many of today’s children and youth will be civic, political and business leaders and their children will be in school.

    Competitive Edge

    The Greater Boston region has a long history as a birthplace of revolution and innovation and is packed with firsts - the nation’s first public park and public library, breakthroughs in medicine and “green” building.  With a newly revitalized waterfront and some of the nation’s - and the world’s - top colleges and universities, the region - with Boston at its core - attracts students from around the world and top-tier talent in all fields to its dynamic  and diversified knowledge economy.

    Fiscal Health
    This cross-cut filter measures fiscal health in several ways: by tracking municipal, state and federal funding as well as levels of philanthropic giving to the nonprofit sector.  In a high-cost city such as Boston, the financial health of individuals and families is another important measure of the fiscal stability and health of the region.
    Race & Ethnicity
    Issues of race and ethnicity - in Boston and elsewhere - generally emerge on two fronts: one is the cultural richness that racial and ethnic diversity contribute to a city and region; the other is persistent disparities in education, health and economic status.  People of color have often faced inequitably high hurdles to educational and economic advancement.
    Sustainable Development

    Sustainable development refers to patterns of growth that integrate environmental and human health, economic dynamism, and social cohesion and equity.  Sustainable development is multi-dimensional by definition: biodiversity health; the availability of jobs at a living age; regional and per capita carbon dioxide emissions; the availability of fresh water and open spaces; etc.  All of these factors increase the quality of life.

    View the Entire Framework
    Complete Framework

    The Boston Indicators Project’s comprehensive Framework of indicators and measures reflects an intensive, participatory selection process that included hundreds of Bostonians and reviewed by thousands more. Beginning with positive goals for the future, these data-rich indicators and measures provide an objective way to assess current conditions, trends over time and patterns of relationships, as well as outcomes for specific groups, neighborhoods, the City of Boston and the Metro Boston region.  The Complete Project Framework can also be re-sorted into crosscutting topics and civic agenda goals.

    View the Complete Framework of Indicators

  • Our Reports: Key Findings
    City of Ideas: Reinventing Boston's Innovation Economy

    The 2012 Boston Indicators Report shows that standard top-level economic indicators don't tell us everything we need to know about the state of jobs and equity in our local and regional economy. We need to reinvent Boston's innovation economy through greater opportunity and shared prosperity.

    Read Our Past Publications Chronicling Boston from 2000-2009

    The Boston Indicators Project produces biennial reports chronicling Boston's accomplishments and the full array of challenges facing the city and region.  These reports build on expert and stakeholder convenings, data analysis, and reviews of recent research. Over the years, they have helped to catalyze an on-going set of conversations throughout the community about our region's economic competitiveness and the key challenges facing Boston.

    The Measure of Poverty: A Boston Indicators Project 2011 Special Report

    The Measure of Poverty was released in September 2011.  Findings show that the rates of poverty in Boston changed very little over the last twenty years, but is more deeply concentrated in single-parent families in particular neighborhoods. State and local budget cuts due to the recession may have long-term consequences in mitigating the effects of poverty.  The Boston Indicators Project released another special report in 2008, Boston’s Education Pipeline: A Report Card, which provided a comprehensive view of the entire arc of Boston’s system of educational opportunities and outcomes, with an update in 2011.

  • Community Snapshots: Boston Neighborhoods to the Region
    Neighborhoods & Planning Districts

    The City of Boston is comprised of 16 Planning Districts and 26 neighborhoods, each with a unique history and identity.  

    This portion of the site is coming soon. For facts and figures about Boston Neighborhoods see the Boston Neighborhood Topic Crosscut Page.

    City of Boston

    The City of Boston is comprised of 16 Planning Districts and 26 neighborhoods, each with a unique history and identity.  


    Metro Boston Region
    The Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) region includes 101 cities and towns. Learn about the region.  

    This portion of the site is coming soon. In the meantime check out the MetroBoston DataCommon for facts and figures about the MAPC region.
    Massachusetts

    This portion of the site is coming soon. In the meantime check out the MetroBoston DataCommon for facts and figures about Massachusetts.

  • Tools & Resources: Data, Mapping & Research
    Learn more about a topic or do your own analysis through access to research, reports, data and analytical tools.

    Explore our digital library, which archives research reports, journal articles, newspaper clippings, blog posts, media coverage, and more about Boston, the region, nation and world.  Search all by using our sector and crosscut topics as filters.
    Learn more about a topic or do your own analysis through access to research, reports, data and analytical tools.


    Find other data-rich websites and analytical tools.
  • Shaping The Future: Civic Agenda 2030 & Innovations
    By aligning our resources and efforts, we can each make a difference in shaping the future.
    Greater Boston's Emerging Civic Agenda, created by hundreds of experts, policy makers and community stakeholders over ten years, offers as set of coherent data-driven strategies to move the region forward.  It is organized in four areas, with goals and measurable milestones.
    By aligning our resources and efforts, we can each make a difference in shaping the future.
    What are the best ways to solve the pressing challenges of our city, region, country and planet?  The Hub of Innovation profiles a set of breakthrough solutions from the region, nation and world. 

    Nominate a breakthrough!


Fiscal Health

This cross-cut filter measures fiscal health in several ways: by tracking municipal, state and federal funding as well as levels of philanthropic giving to the nonprofit sector.  In a high-cost city such as Boston, the financial health of individuals and families is another important measure of the fiscal stability and health of the region.

Indicators in this topic:
1.9.1 Nonprofits by Budget and Type + collapse
Why is this important?
Nonprofits are an essential part of community and civic life, providing opportunities for like-minded neighbors or people to meet and begin to work together. Boston is home to some of the best-known nonprofits in the world, ranging from large to small in size and global to local in reach. The larger organizations offer “deep benches” including well-developed expertise and stability.  Smaller nonprofits often offer an intimate understanding of one neighborhood or ethnic group, or innovative responses to issues that others may not at first recognize as important such as HIV/AIDS awareness, community gardening, neighborhood arts programs and community-based technology training.
How are we doing?

There were 3,871 public charities registered in Suffolk County in 2011, about 16% of Massachusetts’ total of 23,828 according to the National Center for Charitable Statistics.  

Budget: The majority of organizations, 2,508, in Suffolk County are Grassroots Organizations with a budget size of $250,000 or less. Safety Net Organizations with budgets between $250,000 and $50 million comprise 1,282 of all organizations, with most (580) in the smaller side with a budget between $250,000 and $1 million.  There are 81 organizations in Suffolk County that are considered "Economic Engines" with budgets over $50 million.

Organization Type: About one-third (1,207) of organizations in Suffolk County are Social Services such as community capacity-building, housing & shelter, and youth sports & recreation organizations.  The additional two-thirds are other societal benefit organizations such in the Arts (444), Education (599), Environment (121), Health Care & Medical (620), Philanthropy (186) and Other nonprofit organizations (694).  Education and Health Care organizations make up the five largest organizations by employment in Suffolk County : Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston University and Children’s Hospital.


Enlarge Nonprofit Public Charities by County Enlarge Annual Growth Rate in Number of Public Charities Enlarge Per Capita Nonprofit Charity Revenue Enlarge Compound Annual Revenue Growth Rate
1.10.1 Strength of the Philanthropic Sector + collapse
Why is this important?

The strength of the nonprofit sector is bound directly to the strength of the philanthropic sector, with many of the Commonwealth's more than 30,000 nonprofit organizations reliant on Foundation and individual giving to sustain their work.

How are we doing?
As of 2011 there were 23,828 organizations in the philanthropic sector--including foundations--registered in Massachusetts, up from 21,062 in 2003, according to the report Passion & Purpose Revisited.  The philanthropic sector had more than $52 million in revenue and held more than $62 million in total assets in 2011.

According to the most recent data available from Foundation Center, the number of charitable foundations in Massachusetts increased from 1,895 in 1997 to 2,413 in 2009 and total giving increase from $373 million to $1.2 billion over the same time, though this does not capture the trends since the recession.


Enlarge Total Number of Philanthropic Organizations Enlarge Total Foundation Assets Enlarge Total Foundation Giving
2.7.1 Designated Funding for the Arts in MA + collapse
Why is this important?
Legislative funding for the arts represents a community’s strength of commitment in supporting the arts. At the same time, government-designated allocations represent a significant source of funding for cultural institutions, non-profits and even individual artists. Legislative appropriations to state arts agencies and councils – which act as grant maker –clearly mark the level of support for the cultural sector.


How are we doing?
In FY2012 the Massachusetts legislature appropriated $6.2 million for the Massachusetts Cultural Council—the fourth consecutive year of funding cuts which has fallen by 52% from the most recent high of $13 million in FY2009.  At its peak, the legislature allocated more than $16 million to the MCC in FY2002.

Funding for the Cultural Facilities Fund was zeroed out in FY2012 for the third consecutive year.  At its inception, the CFF received $13 million from the legislature and it was last funded at $6 million in FY2009.

Enlarge Arts Funding in MA versus other US States Enlarge Cultural Facilities Fund
3.2.1 Employment by Industry Sector + collapse
Why is this important?
A diverse regional economy offers a wide range of jobs and advancement opportunities for people at all skill levels and helps insulate from industry-specific down-turns.  
How are we doing?
Total:As of 2011 Q3, Boston's average monthly employment was 565,164, the highest count since prior to the recession in 2008.  However, Boston has yet to recover more than 18,000 jobs lost in the 2001 recession.  This trend is not unique to Boston; throughout 2011 Metro Boston added a net 38,000 jobs, but total employment of about 2.4 million was 123,000 lower than last decade's employment peak in February 2001.  

By Industry: As of 2011 Q1, Boston’s dominant industries were Education & Health Services, with nearly 170,000 employees in 2011; Professional & Business Services, with more than 90,000 employees; and Financial Activities, with more than 73,000, together accounting for more than 60% of Boston’s 550,000 jobs. Within these super sectors are detailed industries describing specific goods produced and services rendered, such as Software Publishers, employing nearly 1,000 in the Information super sector. Boston’s largest detailed industries were: Medical & Surgical Hospitals, at 69,242 employees; Colleges & Universities, at 33,208; and Financial Investment Activities, at 19,569.

By Occupation: As of 2010, Boston's largest occupation categories were Office & Administrative Support positions at 90,640, Health Practitioner & Technical positions with over 53,000, Business & Financial occupations with about 49,000 and Food Prep & Serving occupations with more than 45,000 workers.

Enlarge Total Employment, Boston Enlarge Employment by Industry, Boston and Massachusetts Enlarge Average Weekly Wage by Industry
3.2.3 Small Businesses + collapse
Why is this important?
Half of all jobs in the Commonwealth are created by small businesses and in Boston - a city of neighborhoods - many small businesses are a source not only of economic development but also social capital.  They serve as gathering places as well as showcases for local subcultures in addition to creating jobs and a sense of community investment.  It is important that such businesses have access to economic resources, which enable them to start and expand their enterprises, and that business loans reflect Boston’s changing demographics as a measure of its civic health.
How are we doing?

Data coming soon...

Enlarge Loans to Small Businesses by Race/Ethnicity, Gender, Neighborhood Enlarge Small Businesses in Boston
3.2.4 Strong Office and Hotel Markets + collapse
Why is this important?
The amount of office space that is occupied or vacated over a given period is an indicator of the strength of white-collar industries in legal and financial services as well as research and development as well as the demand for other service-sector industries.  As an anchor and magnet for businesses and an attractive city for tourists, Boston is also selected as a venue for conferences, conventions and vacations.  In times of rapid economic growth, the demand for office space increases, putting pressure on rents and spurring new development to accommodate new economic growth.  In economic downturns, commercial space reflects the slower or negative growth. 
How are we doing?
Office Market: As of Q2 2012 Boston’s office vacancy rate was 11.5%, up from 9% in Q2 2009 and the low point of 6% in Q3 2007 but still lower than the high of 13.8% in Q3 2003.  The tightest office market was located in Back Bay with a vacancy rate of 5.3% and an average asking price of $53.60 per square foot.  Vacancy in the Central Business District was 14.4% with an average price of $43 per square foot and in Core Downtown vacancy was 12% with an average price of $44.78 per square foot.

Hotel Market: the Boston/Cambridge area hotel market improved on all key metrics from 2010 to 2011: occupancy increased from to 77% from 76%, the average room rate increased to $199.02 from $193.22 and the revenue per available room (RevPAR) increased to $153.24 from $146.27.  Growth is projected to continue through 2012, to a 78% occupancy rate, $216.93 average room are and $169.20 RevPAR.

Enlarge Hotel Occupancy Rates
3.3.1 Gini Index of Income Inequality + collapse
Why is this important?
The Gini Index is a statistical method that measures the distribution of income.  An index of zero represents a condition in which every family earns the same amount.  Higher figures represent greater income inequality among families.  Comparing the income disparities between the top and the bottom 20% of the population provides the most dramatic contrast and tells us how wide the chasm is between wealth and poverty.
How are we doing?
In 2010, Boston’s Gini index of income inequality .543—the highest recorded over the last fifty years—ranking as the third most unequal among the 50 largest US cities, behind Atlanta and Miami.  This surpasses the previous high of .533 in 2007 at the height of the pre-recession boom.  Because of the recession, in 2009 the Gini index fell to .519, the lowest since 2000, but quickly worsened in the recovery.  Historically, Boston’s GINI index has ranged between 0.335 in 1960 and 0.481 in 2000.  Statewide, Massachusetts’ Gini index in 2010 was 0.475 and tied with Louisiana as the third most unequal state behind New York and Connecticut.

In 2010 the share of aggregate income held by Boston’s top 20% of households increased to 56% in 2010, up from 54% in 2009 and the share held by the top 5% of households remained steady at about 26% of total income earned in Boston in 2010.  The bottom 20% of household held just 1.7% of aggregate income in 2010, down from 2.2% in 2009.

Enlarge
3.4.1 Economic Independence Index, Boston + collapse
Why is this important?
Boston’s Crittenton-Women’s Union  developed the Economic Independence Index, formerly the Family Self Sufficiency Status.  It includes the costs of housing, food, child care, health care, transportation, miscellaneous items, and taxes—without any public or private subsidies and no allowance for saving for retirement, children’s education, or emergency expenses.  The wage required for economic independence varies by geographic area and by family size and composition.  The high cost of living in Boston raises questions about the self-sufficiency wages for different categories of families.
How are we doing?
The income required for a single parent in Boston to support one preschooler and one school-age child increased to $62,421 in 2010 from $39,156 in 1998, according to the Crittenton-Women’s Union.  The Economic Independence wage for a family of four including one adult rises to more than $80,000 to cover housing, food, clothing, education and other basic necessities.  This is more than four times the Federal Poverty Threshold and more than double 185% of Federal Poverty, the point at which most state and federal subsidies and supports expire.  An estimated 150,000 Bostonians—including 30,000 children—live between 185% of poverty and 400% of the federal poverty level—a proxy for economic self-sufficiency.
Enlarge MA Economic Independence Index FESS
3.7.1 Total revenue and expenditures, Massachusetts + collapse
Why is this important?

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is constitutionally required to end each fiscal year with a balanced budget.  In times of economic growth and expansion, this may provide the state with a surplus to save, spend or reinvest, but at times of economic contraction, declining revenues often require a reduction in spending resulting in cuts to programs that support the social safety net. 


How are we doing?

In FY12 the Commonwealth’s budget was more than $34 billion, a 4% decline since FY09 when adjusted for inflation.  Rising unemployment, declining wages and reduced purchasing power associated with the Great Recession have left the Commonwealth—along with every other state—with a budget deficit for the fourth year running of $1.9 billion for FY12 down from $5 billion in 2010.  However, the loss of Federal Stimulus Funding in FY11 meant that a larger share of the budget gap had to be filled with program cuts leaving crucial services to low-income residents underfunded, includining:

  • Head Start and Universal Pre-K will funding were reduced by 27% and 40% respectively between FY09 and FY12;
  • Child Care subsidies for income-eligible and TAFDC recipients were reduced by $629,000 and $4.9 million respectively from FY11. This follows a combined reduction of $55 million (-16%) between FY09 and FY11;
  • Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Programs received just $3.4 million in the FY12 budget—a 43% reduction from FY11 funding. This follows a 57% reduction since FY09 when these programs received $14.7 million;
  • Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children was cut by $8.1 million from FY11 to FY12, including a reduction of the child clothing allowance from $150 to $40 per child. This cut will affect an estimated 70,000 across Massachusetts.
  • SNAP (Food Stamps) in FY12 allocates $900,000 in state support, down from $1.2 million in FY09. Because of Federal stimulus provisions, the state did not fund SNAP in FY11, but the stimulus provisions ended in FY11.

In FY11, Massachusetts’ budget shortfall was 5.7% of its total projected expenditures—which ranked it 5th lowest among all of the states. By comparison, states with the highest deficit-to-expenditure ratio had double-digit shortfalls: Nevada, 45% of total expenditures; New Jersey, 37%; Texas at 30.5%; and California at 29.3%.To close the revenue gap, the Massachusetts Legislature drew down part of the state’s Rainy Day Fund foresightedly built up during the good years. However, in FY10, the Legislature voted for a sales tax increase, which was projected to raise $1 billion from FY10 through FY12.

Enlarge Massachusetts Total Budget Enlarge Funding for Economic Development, MA Enlarge Local Aid to Cities & Towns, MA Enlarge Funding for the Department of Transitional Assistance, MA
3.7.2 Total revenue and expenditures City of Boston + collapse
Why is this important?

The fiscal health of the City of Boston not only impacts the provision of basic services, such as housing, transportation and sanitation, but also the capacity to invest in the arts, community economic development and new technology that make Boston a world-class city. 

How are we doing?

As of FY12, the City of Boston’s total budget was balanced with $2.394 billion in revenues and expenses after posting a budget surplus of $5.91 million in FY11 and $9.09 million in FY10.  The proposed budget for FY13 is balanced at $2.454 billion, a 2.5% increase over FY12.  Overall, expenditures have been rising faster than revenues, having increased by 7% and 6.6% respectively between FY10 to FY13.

Revenue: Growth in revenue has been driven by property tax levy which increased by 14% from $1.475 billion in FY10 to a projected $1.675 billion in FY13, a 40% increase in excise taxes from $103 million in FY10 to a projected $145 million in FY13, and a 27% increase in Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) from $34.9 million in FY10 to $43.5 million in FY13.  Over the same time, local aid from the state declined by 6% from $413 million in FY10 to $388 million in FY13.

Expenses: Health care costs comprise 12% of total FY13 expenditures and have contributed the most to the growth of costs over the last decade.  From FY01 through FY15, health insurance costs are projected to rise by 135% compared to a 39% increase in all other city costs over the same time.  Other high-growth expenditures include: other post-employment benefits by the City of Boston have doubled from $20 million to $40 million between FY10 and FY13; total pension payment increased by 25% from $108 million to $135 million from FY10 to FY13; and total debt service payments increased by 10% from $125.5 million to 137.5 million.

The City of Boston is comprised of 77 different departments organized into 13 mayoral cabinets:

  • Office of the Mayor
  • Administration & Finance
  • Personnel & Labor Relations
  • Advocacy & Strategic Investment
  • Public Property
  • Economic Development
  • Information
  • Education
  • Environmental & Energy Services
  • Housing & Neighborhood Development
  • Human services
  • Public Health
  • Streets, Transportation & Sanitation

The city of Boston also includes non-Mayoral agencies such as the Boston Housing Authority and the Water & Sewer Commission and Intergovernmental relations with the state and county.


Enlarge City of Boston Revenues & Expenditures
4.11.1 Funding for Early Education & Care + collapse
Why is this important?

The Massachusetts Department of Early Education & Care supports the health, well-being and development of children from the earliest ages.  As a part of the Executive Office of Education, EEC provides oversight, licensure and workforce development for early childhood educators, provides financial assistance for family child care, supports the Head Start program and engages parents and community members in the education of the youngest children.

How are we doing?

The Department of Early Education & Care received more than $506 million in funding in FY12, which is roughly the same amount received in FY10 and 11.  However, this is a reduction from the decade-long peak in FY09 when EEC received more than $569 million.

Enlarge Funding for the Massachusetts Department of Early Education & Care
4.11.2 Massachusetts Funding for K-12 Education + collapse
Why is this important?

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education (DESE) is charged with oversight of students from grades K through 12 enrolled in 1,829 public schools, 62 Commonwealth Charter Schools, 10 Horace Mann Charter Schools and 30 Education Collaboratives as well as thousands of teachers, principals and administrators.  Chapter 70 of the Massachusetts Education Reform Act allows for a more equitable distribution of funding to school districts based on need while all other funding for K-12 education can be used for supplemental resources.

How are we doing?

Massachusetts Chapter 70 funding fell slightly in FY12 to $3.9 billion from a high of near $4.1 billion in FY11.  However, total funding is up from just over $2.9 billion in FY01.  Non-Chapter 70 funding for K-12 education has been inconsistent over the last decade, but increased in FY12 to over $511 million from $423 million in FY11.  However, funding remains below the peak of $583 million in FY09.

Despite consistently strong funding for K-12 Education, recent research has found that nearly every extra dollar allocated to school districts through Chapter 70 has been off-set by the increasing cost of employee health care.

Enlarge Chapter 70 Funding Enlarge Non-Chapter 70 Funding
5.11.1 Funding for the Environment and Open Space + collapse
Why is this important?

The state and the Boston region have many outstanding parklands - and maintaining them requires a regular infusion of funding. As in other areas, deferred maintenance often leads to higher costs, and in the case of parkland, the lack of maintenance also often leads to disuse for recreational purposes and a transition to unwelcome and unsafe use.

How are we doing?
In FY12, funding for the Massachusetts Department of Energy & Environmental Affairs fell to its lowest level a decade at $71.9 million after peaking at nearly $96 million in FY02.  Prior to the economic downturn, funding had rebounded to more than $86 million in FY08, but has steadily declined every year since.

Funding for Parks and Recreation statewide has also fallen steadily over the last few years, to $71.5 million in FY12 from a peak of $139 million in FY06.  However, funding in FY12 was higher than the low in FY05 of $71 million.

Enlarge Funding for the Department of Energy & Environmental Affairs Enlarge Funding for the Parks Department
6.7.1 Level of Spending on Public Health + collapse
Why is this important?

Funding for the determinants of health—such as education, the environment and public health—have a greater impact on well-being by reducing high-cost preventable disease, but is often crowded-out by the high-cost health care.  

How are we doing?

Health care costs have grown at a rate well beyond overall spending, crowding out all other investments in key determinants of health.  Between FY01 and FY12, total health care spending increased by 64% while total spending increased by only 13% after inflation. 

Over the same time, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health budget was cut by 25%, funding for public higher education was reduced by 28%, funding for environment and recreation declined by 33% and the 2% increase in K-12 spending was completely absorbed by school districts’ rising health care costs.

Enlarge Massachusetts Spending on Health Care vs. Public Health Enlarge Per Capita Health Spending
7.2.3 Combined Housing and Transit Cost Burden + collapse
Why is this important?

Next to housing, transportation is typically the second largest cost burden on a family.  Nationally, for every dollar a working family saves on housing, it spends 77 cents more on transportation.  This shows the basic tradeoff many working families face between paying a greater share of their income for housing or enduring long commutes and high transportation costs.

How are we doing?

Households in Metro Boston spend an average of 47% of household income on combined housing and transportation costs according to the Combined Housing & Transit Cost Index calculated by the Center for Neighborhood Technology.  In Boston, where the median household income is $52,400, residents spend an average of 56% of their household income on housing and transportation.  However, this is driven primarily by high housing cost burden (41%) as opposed to transit cost burden (15%).  

Enlarge Combined Housing and Transit Cost Housing Transportation as Percentage of HH Income
7.3.1 Distribution of Affordable Housing in Boston and Metro Boston + collapse
Why is this important?

The ideal is to create a range of housing affordability within each of Boston’s neighborhoods to provide for a healthy mix of residents – including seniors, singles, young families, and people of many backgrounds and all incomes.  

How are we doing?

Boston has consistently retained a subsidized housing inventory that is about 20% of total housing stock, allowing Boston to remain a city that is welcoming and supportive of households of all income levels.  However, only 35 cities and towns statewide have a subsidized housing inventory above 10%, 130 communities have between 5% and 10% subsidized and 186 communities have less than 5% affordable housing.  Under Chapter 40B, communities with less than 10% affordable housing a housing developer can circumvent local zoning laws and build high-density housing as long as 25% of the units are designated as affordable.

Enlarge Subsidized Housing Units, Boston Percent Subsidized Housing Inventory Boston Enlarge Subsidized Housing Inventory, Massachusetts Subsidized Housing Inventory MA
7.4.1 Access to Housing by Race & Ethnicity + collapse
Why is this important?

Historically, some groups have suffered discrimination in access to home mortgages, particularly African Americans and Latinos. This has been well-documented nationally.  Locally, discrimination in lending has been documented by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. Efforts over the last 20 years to end this discrimination has created a network of banks dedicated to providing mortgage funds in traditionally under-served neighborhoods, but fraud and targeting within the sub-prime mortgage market may deprive many homeowners of their wealth.

How are we doing?

Home loan denial rates have declined across all race/ethnicities since peaking in 2008 and disparities in denial rates, while persistent, have narrowed.  As of 2010, according to New England-wide data from the Boston Federal Reserve Bank, the loan denial rates declined from 40% in 2008 to 26% in 2010 among African Americans, from 38% to 23.5% for Latinos, from 20.5% to 15% among whites and 18% to 14% among Asian applicants.  

However, much of this decline in denial rates is the increase in approve refinance loans.  Denial rates for home purchase have remained steady or increased.  Additionally, the share of applicants of color has fallen since 2006.  In 2010 white applicants were 91% of all home mortgage applications up from 85% in 2006.

Enlarge Home Purchase Loan Denial Rates by Race Ethnicity
7.9.1 Trends in Public Funding for Housing + collapse
Why is this important?

State and federal funding for housing are essential for the production of affordable housing, reduction of homelessness and support of smart growth development that help to support stability and affordability within communities.  

How are we doing?

The Massachusetts Legislature allocated more than $364 million to support housing programs, subsidies an development, down 8.5% from the $398 million allocated in FY12.  Despite the one-year decline, funding for housing is up by 24% from FY09 when adjusted for inflation.

Continuing support for a "Housing First" approach to homelessness reduction, which began in FY07, the legislature further reduced funding for Emergency Assistance housing and Hotels/Motels by more than $57 million in FY13 in favor of increased funding for the HomeBase, up $17 million, Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program, up $6 million, and Residential Assistance for Families in Transition, up $8.5 million.

Enlarge Massachusetts Funding for Housing & Community Development
8.6.1 Trends in Funding for the Boston Police Department + collapse
Why is this important?
The Boston Police Department is essential to combating crime and promoting safe streets and neighborhoods.  The BPD runs important programs such as the Youth Services Provider Network, Safe Street Teams in high-need areas, and a number of neighborhood and constitutions outreach programs.

How are we doing?
Though City funding for the BPD is down since the peak of $284 million in FY09, FY 13 funding of $278 million is an increased over FY12 with $269 million in funding and well above $211 million allocated in FY04.

Enlarge Funding for Boston Police Department
8.6.2 Massachusetts Funding for Safety & Criminal Justice + collapse
Why is this important?
Funding for law enforcement and corrections are essential to supporting low rates of crime, but growth in this area can signify a growth in the corrections-involved population.

How are we doing?
Massachusetts funding for law enforcement was over $400 million from the years 2006-2009, but following the recession, funding has fallen to less than $330 million from FY10 to FY12--about the same as in 2005.

Over the last decade, funding for the Massachusetts prison and parole system has grown from about $881 million in FY01 to over $1.2 billlion in FY12 with teh peak funding at more than $1.3 billion in 2008.

Enlarge Massachusetts Funding for Law Enforcement Enlarge Massachusetts Funding for Prisons, Probation & Parole
8.6.3 Funding for the Department of Children, Youth & Families + collapse
Why is this important?
The mission of the Massachusetts Department of Youth & Families is to "protect children from abuse and neglect and to strengthen families," by providing support for adolescent services, adoption, foster care, housing stabilization, domestic violence and more.

How are we doing?
Funding for the Department of Children, Youth and Families has fallen from more than $976 million in FY09 to $890 million in FY12 and just $760 budgeted for FY13.  The deepest cuts have been overall services to families and children, down by $89 million since 2009, group care services, down $48 million, and DCF administration, down $15 million in the central office and $16 million for regional administration

Enlarge Funding for the Massachusetts Department of Children, Youth & Families
9.1.1 Research, Development and Venture Capital Funding + collapse
Why is this important?

The funding that Massachusetts’ and Metro Boston’s research institutions and universities attracts reflects the region's international reputation as fertile ground for innovation. Local research and development activities support breakthrough thinking, the development of new technologies, and the emergence of dynamic economic sectors. The combination of funding for research and development (R&D) and local access to venture capital (VC) supports entrepreneurs' conversion of ideas and pilot projects into economic activity and prosperity.


How are we doing?

R&D: Massachusetts ranked 6th in total funding for Research & Development with nearly $2.5 million and 3rd in per capita R&D funding with $373 per capita as of FY09, the most recent year for which data are available.  More than half of the funding, $1.8 million, came from the federal government ranking 3rd in total federal funds.  Massachusetts ranked 6th in total funding from industry but only 37th in R&D funding provided by the state. 

Venture Capital: As of Q1 2012, the New England Region had the second largest VC investment value in the nation, at $678 million and nearly 12% of the nation’s total.  In 2011, Massachusetts per capita VC as $455, the highest of all leading technology states, despite falling from $491 per capita in 2006 according to the Mass Tech Collaborative.

Enlarge Venture Capital Deals per Million by State Enlarge Venture Capital Dollars Per Capita by State Enlarge Massachusetts Share of Venture Capital Deals and Dollars
10.1.3 Household Income Spent on Transportation, Metro Boston + collapse
Why is this important?
Transportation costs constitute a major expenditure for most households, often second only to housing. Motor vehicles can be expensive to purchase, insure fuel, maintain, and repair. Like housing and health care, transportation costs affect the decisions people make about where to live, start a business or raise a family.
How are we doing?
Metro Boston had the 6th lowest overall transportation costs among the largest US metro’s, averaging $12,394 per household from 2005-2009.  However, among the 18 metro regions included in the Consumer Expenditure Survey, Boston ranked 5th in transit cost burden with transportation costs accounting for more than 14% of all expenses in 2010.  
Enlarge Combined Housing and Transportation Costs, Metro Boston Housing Transportation as Percentage of HH Income
10.5.1 Transportation Funding by Mode + collapse
Why is this important?

Transportation infrastructure—roads, bridges, public transit, airports and seaports—is the backbone of economic connectivity and dynamism for Greater Boston and Massachusetts.  A fiscally sound multi-modal system is essential to ensure a state of good repair and to make future improvements that allow residents, goods and services to remain highly mobile. 

How are we doing?

Federal Funding: MassDOT received $648 million in federal funding in FY12 with $350 million going to stat e bridge, road and highway projects and $139 million allocated for regional Metropolitan Planning organizations.  In FY12 the Boston MPO received $64 million.  Massachusetts received $292 million in federal funding for transit, with $244 million going to the MBTA. 

State Funding: Massachusetts General Appropriations Act allocated $1.14 billion in total transportation funding in FY12, a 23% inflation-adjusted decline since FY01 and a 12% decline since the last funding peak of $1.23 billion in FY10.  According to the Transportation Finance Commission report, Massachusetts faces a $15 to $19 billion transportation deficit over the next 20 years.

MassDOT: FY12 revenues from the Commonwealth Transportation Trust Fund and the Massachusetts Transportation Trust Fund were about $2 billion combined, of which about half went to debt service payments.

Commonwealth Transportation Trust Fund was nearly $1.5 billion in FY12, funded with $660 million in gas tax revenues, $500 million in Registry fees, $302 million from the sales tax and $3 million in additional revenues.  In FY12 the CTTF provided $160 million to the MBTA and $15 million to Regional Transit Authorities.

Massachusetts Transportation Trust Fund was $680 million in FY12, including $320 million from the CTTF, $350 million in Mass Turnpike and Tobin Bridge revenues and $10 million in other revenue.  The MTTF provided $360 million to the Mass Turnpike and Tobin Bridge as well as $151 for the MassDOT Operating Budget.

Unfunded Capital Projects: MassDOT has about $5.3 billion worth of capital project needs for paving, system maintenance, bridges and pedestrian infrastructure of which about $3.1 billion—57%--remains unfunded.

MBTA: As of FY13, the T faces a $161 million budget deficit, driven largely by debt-service payments.  MBTA revenues—which are largely supported by dedicated state sales tax, $777 million in FY12—have increased from $1.44 billion inFY09 to $1.65 billion in FY12 because of an increase in contract assistance.  However, revenues have not kept up with increasing expenses, driven by large debt payments.  As of FY12, MBTA expenses were $1.65 billion of which more than $362 million were debt service payments.  Since FY01, debt payments have been between one-quarter and one-third of total expenses.  MBTA total debt service now stands at $8.5 billion while the system also faces a $4.5 billion backlog in deferred maintenance and other projects.

Enlarge MBTA Revenues and Expenses Enlarge MassDOT Revenues and Expenses
Featured Data Visualizations:
Massachusetts Total Budget
Source: Massachusetts Budget & Policy Center
SPOTLIGHT: Fiscal Health
The Massachusetts Budget & Policy Center produces non-partisan policy research, analysis, and data-driven recommendations focused on improving the lives of low- and middle-income children and adults.
Noteworthy
90 x 108
Funding for the Cultural Facilities Fund was zeroed out in FY2012 for the third consecutive year.  At its inception, the CFF received $13 million from the legislature and it was last funded at $6 million in FY2009.
Indicator
Massachusetts Legislature
Crosscut Topic
Related Crosscut Topics
Open Government
OpenGovernment is a free and open-source public resource website for government transparency and civic engagement at the state and local levels.
Innovation