Please note: The data and analyses contained in this section are no longer being updated and are presented here solely as an archive of Boston Indicators’ work on this Indicators Framework between the years 2000 and 2015.



Goal: 9.1 Competitive Edge in Technology





Research, Development and Venture Capital Funding

  • Venture Capital Deals per Million by State
  • Venture Capital Dollars Per Capita by State
  • Share of Venture Capital Deals and Dollars

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.

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.


Patents Per Capita

Patents-per-capita is a widely used measure of technological capacity and innovation and a predictor of economic dynamism. The number of patents generated in a community indicates the capacity for creative thinking and research activity, the commitment to support innovation, and the potential for the development of new commercial products and services. Metro Boston ranked fourth globally in patent filings, accounting for 7.2% of all patents filed in the US and 2.5% of all patents filed worldwide, according to 2008 statistics from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development  (OECD). Metro Boston ranked second globally—behind only San Francisco—in biotech patents.  According to the Mass Tech Collaborative, the number of patents awarded in Massachusetts rose by 33% between 2009 and 2010 and the state ranked first among all leading technology states in patents issued at 931 per million residents, up from 622 in 2006.  The next highest state was New York with 749 patents per million.

Goal: 9.2 Technologically-Skilled Workforce





STEM Doctorate Degrees Awarded

  • Doctorate Degrees per 100,000
  • Total Engineering Doctorates Awarded
  • Total Life Science Doctorates Awarded
  • Total Physical Science Doctorates Awarded
Human capital is an essential ingredient in any region’s capacity to be competitive in the marketplace, and highly-skilled workers are the most sought after and the most mobile in today's workforce. Access to an educated workforce is a critical factor in the decision-making process when companies are planning to expand or relocate. This is especially true in the technology sector, where a region with a high rate of science- and engineering-degree holders has a distinct advantage. In 2011 Massachusetts universities awarded 2,500 doctorate degrees ranking behind only Washington DC and first among all states in the rate of Doctorate Agrees awarded in with 38 per 100,000, according to the National Science Foundation.  

Nearly two-thirds of the degrees awarded were in the STEM fields with 601 degrees in Life Sciences, 478 degrees in Physical Sciences and 454 Engineering doctorate degrees awarded.  Massachusetts ranked in the top five of all states in the number of science and engineering degrees awarded.

Goal: 9.3 Equitable Access to Technology




Boston Public Library Computer & Internet Usage

The Boston Public Library system, with 25 branches in addition to the central library in Copley Square, is a primary point of free access to computers and the internet across all of Boston's neighborhoods.

Use of the Boston Public Library as a source of wireless internet and computer access continued to increase in FY11.  More than 230,000 wifi session were logged--more than double the rate in FY08--and public computers were used nearly 750,000 times, up 38% from FY07.

Access to BPL computers is evenly distributed across the 25 neighborhood branches, all of which have at least 20 computers.  Branches with the greatest number of public computers are Mattapan with 47, Grove Hall with 45 and Dudley with 45.


Technology Training Centers

  • Nonprofit Technology Centers
  • Intel Computer Clubhouse Locations

Despite the expansion of the internet across Boston since the early 2000's, there remain individuals and families who have fallen behind the curve on internet utilization and experience. Tech centers and training programs help guide these underserved community members to better understand the internet itself, and by extension, the community and world around them.

In the last several years, internet access in Boston has gone from 79.5% of households in Boston with access in 2013, to roughly 86.2% of all households in 2015. There remain gaps in internet access and comprehension across Boston, however, that are ameliorated somewhat through training centers and Boston Public Library programs.

Goal: 9.4 Use of Technology for Teaching and Learning





Use of Technology for Teaching and Learning in Boston Public Schools

  • Students per Computer
  The number of students per available computer in BPS has fallen from 8 students per computer in 2004 to 3 students per computer in 2010 and 100% of BPS classrooms report having access to broadband internet.



  • MCAS Tenth Grade Stem Proficiency
  • Tenth Grade Science Proficiency, All Students

  As of 2011, 39% of Boston's 10th graders were proficient in the MCAS Science, Technology and Engineering Exam compared to 67% of students statewide.