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National Equity Research Database (NERD)

The National Equity Research Database, Boston Edition

A product of the project

The Boston metro area is rapidly diversifying, but stubborn inequities persist across racial and ethnic groups, neighborhoods and municipalities. The extent of segregation and inequity is obscured in most statistical reporting, which presents averages across diverse groups with unequal characteristics. The Boston edition of the National Equity Research Database (NERD), a product of, allows users to study socioeconomic inequalities across racial/ethnic groups and geographies over time.

How is NERD Boston Unique?

NERD Boston provides the largest single source of socioeconomic indicators for the city of Boston, its census tracts, neighborhoods, and all municipalities in the Boston metro area. It also includes data for all counties in the metro area, the state of Massachusetts, New England and the U.S. as a whole.

NERD Boston:

  • Offers 303 indicators covering a wide range of subjects including demographics, education, employment, health, housing, earnings, ancestry, commuting and more.
  • Has a unique focus on equity, with 160 of its 303 indicators offered by race and ethnicity.
  • Allows for examination of trends over time, with data available from 2009 to 2017.
  • Is easily accessible, free and open to the public. Data files and a user guide are available for download, allowing anyone to look up statistics or run analyses.

Why Use NERD Boston?

To reveal patterns and inequities obscured by most statistical reporting. Statistics aggregated across an entire city can mask inequities and create a misleading picture of population and socioeconomic characteristics. NERD Boston provides local data broken down by race and ethnicity to gain a better understanding of what is happening in the neighborhoods, the city and all municipalities in the metro area.

To understand change over time. By providing data spanning almost a decade (2009-2017), NERD Boston allows users to examine how socioeconomic characteristics, living conditions and opportunities are changing for different racial/ethnic groups across Boston neighborhoods. Users can compare these trends to the rest of the Boston metro area and to the state and nation.

To provide data about socially meaningful geographic areas in the City of Boston. NERD data reflect geographic areas that are socially and historically meaningful to City of Boston residents (e.g., Roxbury, South Boston). Also, by aggregating data up to the level of City-defined neighborhoods, NERD Boston’s estimates are more statistically precise than census tract-level estimates provided by the Census Bureau, especially when the data are broken out by race/ethnicity.

How Do I Learn More or Get the Data?

Read the User Guide, explore interactive visualizations, or complete this data agreement form in order to download the data.

The project is supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

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