Impact MetroWest is an initiative of the Foundation for MetroWest and Middlesex Savings Bank. It is aimed at deepening our knowledge and understanding of our region The data and analysis will serve as a common source of information on critical topics that affect the health and progress of MetroWest and inform community stakeholders, spur discussion and collaboration, and monitor our quality of life.
Community indicators are measurements of social, environmental and economic factors that affect quality of life. In a community indicator project, these factors are gathered and analyzed over time to monitor the community’s well-being and whether it’s improving, declining, or staying the same. These metrics help us decide how to focus our resources to improve our community, and then to monitor the impact of our collective efforts.
Each measure includes a description of the indicator, a brief analysis of trends, a chart displaying trends over time, and tables providing data for the region (Middlesex, Norfolk, Worcester counties), the state of Massachusetts, the nation and the towns and cities inside the MetroWest area within the 3 counties.
Impact MetroWest was launched by the Foundation for MetroWest and Middlesex Savings Bank. The Foundation consulted various stakeholders and data experts throughout the region for their guidance during its development. CGR (Center for Governmental Research) coordinated creation of the website and provided the data and analysis.
An indicator is a measure that helps to describe an economic, environmental, social, or cultural condition over time. An indicator is often expressed as a rate or percent, such as the poverty rate, the unemployment rate, or voter participation rate.
We studied a list of available indicators and, with assistance from local experts in the public, private and nonprofit sectors, determined which ones would be most significant to highlight important trends and issues in our area.
Center for Governmental Research suggests that the criteria include, but not necessarily be limited to, the following:
The trend arrows shown on most indicators measure change from the first available data point to the most recent.
Much of the data comes from existing sources, such as the U.S. Census Bureau, state and federal government agencies, and universities. No “primary data collection” was performed, meaning that all data shown on the site was collected by another source, often a state or federal agency. You can find the data source for each indicator on the data table and charts provided for that indicator. Raw numbers were converted to rates and dollars were adjusted for inflation to provide a reasonable basis for comparisons.
In gathering data for Impact MetroWest, CGR balanced desires for accuracy, completeness, and timeliness. Some data are available every year and regularly and quickly updated. Other datasets take longer to update, so the data on the website contains the most recent data, but may be 2-3 years old.
The Center for Governmental Research will provide Impact MetroWest with the most timely information available, updating indicators on an ongoing basis.
Over 1,000 communities around the world have undertaken indicator initiatives. Quality of Life in Jacksonville: Indicators for Progress, was started over 20 years ago in Jacksonville, FL. Indicator projects have been established in large regions like Southern California (population 17.1 million) and in small ones like Burlington, VT (population 39,000). Some other notable examples include Boston, MA, Spartanburg, SC, and Toronto and Ottawa, Canada.