Boston Indicators is a research center at the Boston Foundation that seeks a thriving Greater Boston for all residents across all neighborhoods. We do this by analyzing key indicators of well-being and by researching promising ideas for making our city more prosperous, equitable and just. To ensure that our work informs active efforts to improve our city, we work in deep partnership with community groups, civic leaders and Boston’s civic data community to produce special reports and host public convenings.


Luc Schuster
Luc Schuster, Director
Anise Vance
Anise Vance, Senior Manager, Research in Race and Equity
Peter Ciurczak
Peter Ciurczak, Research Associate

History of Boston Indicators

Initially created in 2000 through a partnership with the City of Boston and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, Boston Indicators (or the Boston Indicators Project, as it was originally known) has been a primary resource for data-driven analysis in Greater Boston. Boston Indicators analyzes big trends in Boston and its neighborhoods in a regional, national and global context. In addition to our research initiatives, we convene civic leaders to foster public discourse.

For our first 15 years, the Indicators Framework—a curated online catalogue of 350 measures of well-being in the Boston area—was the backbone of our work. Based on the contributions of hundreds of local thought leaders, the Framework articulated 70 shared civic goals and reported on change across 10 sectors: Civic Vitality, Cultural Life and the Arts, the Economy, Education, the Environment, Health, Housing, Public Safety, Technology, and Transportation. The Framework was used in a real-time way to measure our progress as a city and inform important civic conversations.

In addition to tracking this comprehensive set of indicators, Boston Indicators has produced a range of public reports chronicling Boston’s accomplishments and highlighting core challenges. Major biennial reports include:

Timeline of Major Reports


Indicators 2015
Shape of the City: Making Boston America’s Upwardly Mobile City

Presents data that provide a helpful background vehicle and jumping off point for a very unreasonable goal—Making Boston America’s Upward Mobility City.

Download Report


Taking Stock
Taking Stock: Five Years of Structural Change in Boston’s Public Schools

A snapshot of changes in Boston’s K-12 education landscape after five years of reform showing the growth of the autonomous schools and the impact on student learning and achievement.

Download Report


Indicators 2012
City of Ideas: Reinventing Boston’s Innovation Economy

Shows that standard economic indicators don’t tell us everything we need to know about equity and prosperity in Boston’s post-recession innovation economy.

Download Report


Measure of Poverty
The Measure of Poverty

A short report on poverty in Boston over the last two decades and today.

Download Report


Indicators 2009
A Great Reckoning: Healing a Growing Divide

Highlights rising income inequality in Boston and the region and its harmful effects.

Download Report


Education Pipeline
Boston’s Education Pipeline: A Report Card

A comprehensive view of the entire arc of Boston’s system of educational opportunities and outcomes.

Download Report


Indicators 2006
A Time Like No Other: Charting the Course of the Next Revolution

Details Boston’s outsized historic and current role in the world and seven crisis/opportunity pairs that, together, reframe Boston’s challenges as the foundation for future growth.

Download Report


Indicators 2004
Thinking Globally/Acting Locally: A Regional Wake Up Call

Notes intensifying global competition for talent and jobs and the need for a coherent response.

Download Report


Indicators 2002
Creativity and Innovation: A Bridge to the Future

Emphasizes post-recession Boston’s creative economy assets and the challenge of talent retention in a high-cost city and region.

Contact us to Learn More


Indicators 2000
The Wisdom of Our Choices: Progress, Change and Sustainability

Provides baseline data for the height of Boston’s tech boom, and warns of the regional knowledge economy’s disparate effect on more- and less-well educated Boston residents.

Contact Us to Learn More