Boston Is Booming... But for Whom?

Building Shared Prosperity in a Time of Growth

October 10, 2018

Click above for the video of the October 10, 2018 presentation and panel discussion at the Boston Foundation

Boston’s robust innovation economy has triggered economic growth, but has failed to reverse national trends in economic mobility and income inequality, according to a multi-layered analysis of economic, housing and other trends by Boston Indicators, the research arm of the Boston Foundation. The report, Boston’s Booming… But for Whom?, was released at a forum on October 10 at the Foundation’s Edgerley Center for Civic Leadership.

The report illustrates a long-term decline in the percentage of young adults that earn more than their parents did at the same age. In Massachusetts, just 55% of those born in 1980 were found to be earning more than their parents did at age 30 – down from 91% for those born in 1940. However, in that context, a Boston Indicators analysis of Boston data finds that Boston tied for second nationally in average income among those who grew up in lower-income households, and first in average income for Black men and women from lower-income households. (Despite the high ranking, however, Black men in the Boston cohort earned an average of 22 percent less than their white peers.)

The data also show continued income inequality and a “hollowing out” of Boston’s middle class, driven out of the city by a lack of affordable housing and the high cost of living. 

Web version

Boston Is Booming
Click here to view a n HTML version of the report from Boston Indicators
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Presentation of Report

Luc SchusterDirector, Boston Indicators 

Presentation of New Local Data on Economic Mobility

John FriedmanProject Director, Equality of Opportunity Project; 
Associate Professor of Economics & International Affairs & Public Policy, Brown University

Panel Discussion and Q and A

Stephen Chan, Vice President of Strategy & Operations,The Boston Foundation, Moderator
Janelle Chan, Undersecretary for Housing & Community Development, Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Jesús Gerena, Chief Executive Officer, Family Independence Initiative (FII)
Meghan Irons, Social Justice Reporter, The Boston Globe

Read or download the report by clicking here.