Data Tools and Resources

As a resource to faculty, students, researchers, and the community we have posted here some of the best sources of data sets related to urban and/or policy-related issues.

The Boston Indicators Project
A project of The Boston Foundation in partnership with the City of Boston and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, the Boston Indicators Project collects and tracks key data across multiple issue areas reflecting the quality of life in Greater Boston.

Culture Counts

New England’s cultural database, developed by New England Foundation for the Arts.

  • An online data warehouse containing financial, demographic, geographic, and other information about cultural nonprofits, businesses, and professionals in New England.
  • Provides the New England state arts agencies, researchers, cultural organizations, funders, artists, policy makers, and general public with a wealth of research information to support analysis, advocacy, and policy development.
  • A geographically coded directory to allow searches by location and support a variety of analyses based on geographic area.
  • Expanding as for-profit creative industry businesses are added to the present listings of nonprofit cultural organizations and individual artists to encompass the entire creative economy of New England.
  • Includes an Impact Calculator, an interactive cultural economic impact analysis tool that demonstrates the economic impact of the nonprofit cultural sector and then estimates how changes in the sector affect a community or region’s employment, income, and property values.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston
The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston website offers a wealth of information about Greater Boston and the New England region. New England Economic Indicators is a monthly publication (available in ) presenting economic data and summary articles about the six New England states and their large metro areas.

Mass GIS

MassGIS is the Commonwealth’s Office of Geographic and Environmental Information, within the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. On their website, you can access all kinds of key data and produce maps that are downloadable.

MetroBoston DataCommon
MetroBoston DataCommon is a online mapping tool. A partnership between the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) and the Boston Indicators Project, it makes available a wealth of data about cities and towns in Massachusetts. Explore data, print out instant community snapshots or maps, and create your own maps.

Writing in the Discipline collection of guides and writing resources within the field of public policy, including case studies, grant writing, policy analysis, and legal documents.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

  • Inflation & Prices
  • Employment
  • Unemployment
  • Pay & Benefits
  • Spending & Time Use
  • Productivity
  • Workplace Injuries
  • International
  • Regional Resources

U.S. Census Bureau

The official U.S. government source for census data.

Common Good Forecaster

A project of the United Way and the American Human Development Project, the Common Good Forecaster shows how things might change in a community if educational outcomes were better — not only better jobs and higher incomes, but improved health, life expectancy, voter turnout, lower rates of incarceration, and prospects for children.

Current Population Survey

The Current Population Survey (CPS) is a monthly survey of about 50,000 households conducted by the Bureau of the Census for the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The survey has been conducted for more than 50 years.

The CPS is the primary source of information on the labor force characteristics of the U.S. population. The sample is scientifically selected to represent the civilian noninstitutional population. Respondents are interviewed to obtain information about the employment status of each member of the household 15 years of age and older. However, published data focus on those ages 16 and over. The sample provides estimates for the nation as a whole and serves as part of model-based estimates for individual states and other geographic areas.

Foreclosure Response Project

The Foreclosure Response project is a new collaboration of the Center for Housing Policy, KnowledgePlex, LISC, and the Urban Institute. As part of this project, LISC has developed datasets with foreclosure “needs scores” for Community Development Block Grant jurisdictions and at the ZIP Code level within each state. These scores incorporate measures of subprime lending, foreclosures, delinquency, and vacancies to help state and local officials quickly assess the relative needs of different jurisdictions for neighborhood stabilization funding within each state and allocate funds accordingly.

National Bureau of Economic Research
Broad and rich collection of key data, some generated by the NBER, but many generated by other sources.

National Center for Charitable Statistics
The National Center for Charitable Statistics is the national clearinghouse of data on the nonprofit sector in the United States. NCCS is a program of the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy (CNP) at the Urban Institute.

School District Demographics Site (SDDS)
The School District Demographics site provides information about demographics, social characteristics, and economics of children and school districts from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) of the U.S. Department of Education.

State of the Cities Data Systems (SOCDS)

The SOCDS provides data for individual Metropolitan Areas, Central Cities, and Suburbs.

  • Detailed demographic and economic characteristics of the population
  • Latest available unemployment rates
  • Jobs, Business Establishments, and Average Pay since the 1990s
  • Violent and property crime rates collected by the FBI
  • Local building permits
  • City and suburban government
  • Housing Affordability Strategy (CHAS)

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