ABOUT

Boston Indicators is the research center at the Boston Foundation, working 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 region more prosperous, equitable and just. To ensure that our work informs active efforts to improve our region, we work in deep partnership with community groups, civic leaders and Greater Boston’s civic data community to produce special reports and host public convenings.

Team

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 April 2020, Boston Indicators launched the COVID Community Data Lab (CCDL) with the Massachusetts Housing Partnership, a two-year research project to capture and analyze the wide-ranging social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on Greater Boston. Featuring a repository of real-time, traditional and nontraditional data sources and short research briefs, the CCDL was a community resource to policymakers, advocates and the general public. The Data Lab’s 2021 “Seizing the Moment” series convened a range of community voices to propose concrete ideas for an equitable and just recovery.

In addition to conducting research that is responsive 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

2024

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Criminal Justice Reform in Massachusetts: A Five-Year Progress Assessment

Criminal Justice Reform in Massachusetts is the first systematic look at the impact of two landmark criminal justice reform laws passed in 2018.

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2023

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Greater Boston Housing Report Card 2023

The year’s Report Card finds continued housing production challenges and that housing cost burdens have been increasing for most renter households. The report also features a special topic analysis of community land trusts (CLTs).

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2023

Exclusionary by Design

Based on extensive review of local planning documents, state reports, and press coverage over the past 100 years, this report finds widespread use of zoning as a tool of social exclusion

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2023

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A Long Road Home: A Racial Equity Analysis of Homeownership Support Programs in Massachusetts

Massachusetts has among the largest racial homeownership gaps in the country, but we also have some model affordable homeownership programs working to make a difference.

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2023

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Great Migration to Global Immigration: A Profile of Black Boston

Black residents of Greater Boston are four-times as likely to be foreign born as Black Americans overall, and our region’s Afro-Latino population has more than doubled in just 20 years.

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2022

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Greater Boston Housing Report Card 2022

Greater Boston struggles with a lack of affordable housing, as tight inventory and rising costs place significant burdens on homebuyers and renters.

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2022

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Care Work in Massachusetts: A Call for Racial and Economic Justice for a Neglected Sector

Care workers provide supports that every person requires at some point, whether in infancy, illness, disability, or old age.

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2022

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¡Avancemos Ya! Persistent Economic Challenges and Opportunities Facing Latinos in Massachusetts

Massachusetts is among the wealthiest states in the country, and yet Latino communities here continue to struggle disproportionately with food insecurity, poverty, and unemployment.

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2021

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Multiracial in Greater Boston: The Leading Edge of Demographic Change

Not only is racial diversity increasing in the aggregate, but a growing number of families are forming across racial and ethnic lines.

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2021

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Building AAPI Power: A Profile of Asian American and Pacific Islander Communities in Greater Boston

Asian Americans have the largest intragroup income inequality of any racial group.

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