Mid-Sized Cities: Data Profiles

In 2013, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston launched an initiative to advance collaborative leadership in the mid-sized cities of Massachusetts, and to support ambitious work to improve the lives of low-income people in those cities. As the research partner for the Challenge, the Mosakowski Institute prepared "data dashboards" for twenty Massachusetts cities, compiling information about subjects such as: demographics, income, employment, educational attainment, and health. In recent years, the dashboards have expanded to include statistical analyses on the cities of Rhode Island and Connecticut as well.

Guide to Data Used in the Profiles

The data profiles provide an overview of midsized cities and their many dimensions. They include the composition of the city's population and recent demographic events, mortality and health, its local economy, housing, education and civic engagement. While it is not possible to provide a comprehensive data handbook for each city, we feel the profiles tell an important story about each city. Details about the sources and purpose of each dimension can be found below.

Population and Demographic Change

1. Graph of Population 1970-2014
Source: U.S. Census for 1970-2010 and estimates of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

2. Population Distribution by Age Group
Source: American Community Survey (ACS) for 2011-2013
Notes: The "Rest of State" refers to the distribution of Population for the Commonwealth excluding Boston and the Gateway Cities.

3. Population Distribution by Age and Ethnicity
Source: ACS 2011-2013
Notes: The six subgroups will not add up to 100 because of the exclusion of those who identified two or more races and the potential for an overlap of foreign-born and Hispanic with the three racial subgroups. The origin as percent of Hispanic will not add up to 100 because of other source countries for immigration beyond those four identified and the presence of a large share of Hispanic residents who were born in the United States. The "State" refers to all towns of the Commonwealth except for Boston and the Gateway Cities.

4. Recent Demographic Behavior
Sources: Infant mortality and Overall mortality: Massachusetts Department of Public Health Status Indicators for 2010 and Birth Rate to residents of the city, Low birthweight infants and Births to teen mothers: Massachusetts Department of Public Health 2013 Birth Report
Notes: The "state" refers to the state average including data from the Gateway Cities and Boston.

The Local Economy

1. Sectoral Employment
Source: The Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development's ES-202 series
Notes: The numbers in parentheses refer to the 2-digit codes of the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). The employment amounts are the annual average for 2014 for all forms of ownership.

2. Five Largest Industries
Source: 2012 Economic Census
Notes: Actual counts of employment were not provided for many industries in order to preserve confidentiality. The data do include the employment class, which is presented here.

3. Educational Attainment of the Population
Source: ACS estimates for 2011-2013

4. Key Indicators of Income and Commuting
Source: ACS estimates for 2011-2013

5. Distribution of Households by Income Class
Source: ACS estimates for 2011-2013

6. Unemployment Rate:2000-2015
Source: The Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development annual unemployment series
Notes: The unemployment rate for 2015 is from March 2015. The solid line in the graph (with the scale on the right axis) provides the city's unemployment rate as a percent of the average for all gateway cities. For example, Brockton's unemployment rate has closely tracked the average for all gateway cities and was slightly above the average of 6.26% in March 2015. Lawrence's unemployment rate was 50 percent above average and Everett's was three-quarters of the average in March 2015.

Housing, Education and Public Health

1. Housing Market Indicators
Source: ACS estimates for 2011-2013
Notes: The "Average Rents" for four types of apartments are approximations calculated as weighted average of the number of units falling into one of six ranges of gross rent. Midpoints of ranges were used for all of the ranges except the lowest (below $200) and the highest (above $1,000). The lowest category was assigned a rent of $150 and the highest category was assigned a rent of $1,500. The "Housing Affordability" graph shows the share of households falling into one of six categories of gross rent as a percentage of household income. For example, for Lawrence it appears that about one-half of households pay 50 percent of their income as rent.

2. Education Indicators for 2014
Source: Massachusetts Department of Education district profiles for graduation rates, class sizes and dropout rates and Massachusetts Department of Education reports on the MCAS standardized test results for 10th graders
Notes: The dropout rate reflects the cumulative dropouts for grades nine through 12 for the cohort that should have graduated in 2014. The Student Growth Percentile shows the percentage of students in the district who did better than the population of all students who had a similar performance on the previous MCAS subject grade. A percentile above the average for gateway cities indicates an above average student-by-student improvement. Averages for the state are not population-weighted, so they will not necessarily be equal to 50.

3. All data except Opioid Overdose Mortality, Admissions to Substance Abuse Programs and Percent overweight or obese children
Source: Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services Health Status Indicators by town

4. Opioid Overdose Mortality
Source: Massachusetts Department of Public Health report on unintentional opioid deaths of Massachusetts residents
Notes: The "State" refers to all towns of the Commonwealth except for Boston and the Gateway Cities.

5. Admissions to Department of Public Health Substance Abuse Programs
Source: Massachusetts Department of Public Health Bureau of Substance Abuse Services Admissions to Contracted and Licensed Programs

6. Percent overweight or obese children
Source: Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services Youth Weight Status Report (for 2010)
Notes: Data are collected by school districts.

Civic Engagement

1. Voting Behavior
Source: Massachusetts Secretary of State Elections Division for state enrollment statistics [registered voters] and voters in 2014 Gubernatorial Election
Notes: The "State" refers to all towns of the Commonwealth except for Boston and the Gateway Cities.

2. Not-for-Profit Sector Indicators and lists of charities
Source: National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS) Business Master File All Entities for grouped data and NCCS DataWeb for major nonprofit organizations
Notes: "Education, Finance and Medical" refers to major non-profit institutions (colleges, schools, hospitals and credit unions) with significant assets. Other nonprofits refers to other large non-profits in the city. The "State" refers to all towns of the Commonwealth except for Boston and the Gateway Cities.

3. Associative Nonprofits
Source: National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS) Business Master File All Entities
Notes: Associative nonprofits refers to not-for-profit membership organizations that provide significant opportunities for community members to associate with each other. They include organizations such as churches, service and "fraternal" organizations such as the Rotary Club or the Elks, organizations for team sports and cultural organizations such as Saint Patrick's Day committees, choruses or other similar groups. "Youth National" refers to national organizations such as the YMCA or International Order of the Rainbow Girls that have programs and facilities in the city. We have attempted to identify cultural and religious organizations with a strong ethnic orientation by the name of the organization. Further details on the particular NTEECC letter-two digit codes included in the separate rubrics are available upon request. The "State" refers to all towns of the Commonwealth except for Boston and the Gateway Cities.

Gateway Cities Profiles

The Profiles are part of ongoing research on New England's mid-sized cities at the Mosakowski Institute. “Gateway Cities” refer to the municipalities of Massachusetts with a relatively medium sized population, and a median household income below the state average. “Working Cities” reflect similar dimensions in the cities of Rhode Island and Connecticut. To help you see the ways in which a particular mid-sized city stands out, we have included information that allows for a comparison with other mid-sized cities and the state as whole. We welcome comments on all aspects of the profiles, including suggestions on data that may be particularly helpful for understanding our Gateway/Working Cities and on improvements that we may make in helping the data tell the story of the remarkable diversity and vibrancy of New England’s mid-sized cities. To share your suggestions, questions, or comments about the profiles, feel free to contact us.