Boston Indicators is the research center at the Boston Foundation, which works to advance 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
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Trevor Web Corrected
Trevor Mattos, Research Manager
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Peter Web
Peter Ciurczak, Research Associate
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Anne Calef, Research Fellow
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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.

Boston Indicators is a founding partner of the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership (NNIP), a learning network, coordinated by the Urban Institute, of independent organizations in 30 cities that share a mission to ensure all communities have access to data and the skills to use information to advance equity and well-being across neighborhoods.

In addition to conducting research that is responsive in real-time to active efforts to improve our communities, Boston Indicators continues to produce larger, high-profile public reports chronicling Boston’s accomplishments and highlighting core challenges. Major reports include:

Timeline of Major Reports


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Seizing the Moment: Proposals for a Just and Equitable Recovery

With contributions from a range of community voices, Seizing the Moment presents concrete ideas for building back better from the pandemic.

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Zoned Out: Why Massachusetts Needs to Legalize Apartments Near Transit

The wrong level of government—small cities and towns, rather than the state—is making too many of our important housing policy decisions. This paper offers one concrete model for how the state can take a more proactive role in setting land use regulations.

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A Guaranteed Income for Massachusetts

Massachusetts has an opportunity to lead the nation in providing a guaranteed income to low and moderate-income residents, utilizing a tool already at its disposal – the Earned Income Tax Credit.

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Kids Today: Boston's Declining Child Population and its Effect on School Enrollment

Even though our city’s total population has been increasing, we’ve actually lost school-aged population at the same time. Enrollment in Boston’s schools has declined and those who remain are increasingly isolated by income and race.

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The Growing Wave of Federal Immigration Restrictions: What's at Stake for Massachusetts?

A growing federal effort to limit immigration to the U.S. has had substantial impact on families, communities and the legal system in Massachusetts.

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Changing Faces of Greater Boston

After a decline during the mid-20th century, we’re now several decades into a new global wave of immigration, bringing Boston back to its roots as a city of immigrants.

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Boston's Booming... But For Whom?

Boston’s booming economy has many benefits, but it’s still leaving too many families behind. Economic mobility is down. Our middle class is hollowing out. Racial disparities persist.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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