New Boston Indicators analysis finds that despite economic gains, inequality persists in Greater Boston


A new report by Boston Indicators finds that Greater Boston’s continued economic boom has failed to crack persistent economic inequality among residents. The new report, Boston’s Booming… But for Whom?: Building Shared Prosperity in a Time of Growth, was released Wednesday morning to a crowd of 300 people at the Edgerley Center for Civic Leadership.

The report finds that Boston actually ties for second nationally among the nation’s largest cities when it comes to the ability of those raised in lower-income households to improve their economic state as working-age adults. Boston also ranks high when breaking out by race, but the analysis finds that Blacks in the cohort still earn 22% less than their white peers.

The challenges of the economic boom on the middle-class are evident in the shrinking size of Boston’s middle class. A Boston Indicators analysis finds that while the number of low- and high-income city residents has risen sharply in the past three decades, the number of middle-class residents has declined.

One possible culprit? The cost of housing. Despite the City of Boston playing a leadership role in the region by creating thousands of units of affordable housing, the Indicators team analysis found just 20 census tracts of 150 in Boston where median rent would be considered affordable for a median income household. That list included zero tracts in Roxbury, Dorchester or Mattapan.

Affordable housing by median income
Redoubling efforts to produce affordable housing, close Boston’s racial homeownership gap, improve transportation, and continue to reduce incarceration in Massachusetts are highlighted among a dozen local action areas for building greater shared prosperity in the region.

The report is available now for download, and easily can be read online at

The Indicators team plans to take deeper dives into a number of the issues raised by the report during the course of the coming year.

Source: Boston Foundation