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.
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 collaborative effort by the Urban Institute and local partners to further the development and use of neighborhood information systems in local policymaking and community building.
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:
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.View Report
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.View Report
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
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
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
A short report on poverty in Boston over the last two decades and today.Download Report
Highlights rising income inequality in Boston and the region and its harmful effects.Download Report
A comprehensive view of the entire arc of Boston’s system of educational opportunities and outcomes.Download Report
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
Notes intensifying global competition for talent and jobs and the need for a coherent response.Download Report
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
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