This section includes links to general sources of data and information. There are three types of information provided in this section: national data sources and services; local information sources; and information about community indicator projects.
The United States Census Bureau is one of the world’s largest sources of data and analysis. The basic data collection conducted every 10 years is required by the U.S. Constitution and provides population reporting, various data estimates and analyses in both English and Spanish. One particularly useful Census tool is the American Fact Finder, which provides the ability to search data and reports by many factors, including demographic types and zip code. For a summary of Census Bureau data tools, click here.
An important initiative of the U.S. Census Bureau is the American Community Survey, which samples 3 million households annually to provide updates between each 10-year data collection. Currently, the American Community Survey provides estimates for the nation, states, and individual communities with a population of 65,000 or more.
The United States Department of Health & Human Services maintains a trove of information and statistics on national and state rates of child abuse and neglect. Demographic data on perpetrators and victims can be found, as well as rates of various types of abuse.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association (SAMHSA) Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) provides helpline access and treatment resources for suicide, substance abuse and opioid treatment programs. SAMSHA also focuses on the development of national data standards that provide the basis for uniform, comparable, high-quality statistics on mental health services, making it a model in the health care statistics field. Data is available on mental health and substance abuse services including treatment satisfaction and recurrence.
Mass.gov is the official website for all branches of the Massachusetts state government and the many departments that serve the commonwealth. Resources for Housing, Healthcare, Education, Tourism and Economic Development are some of the many services they provide.
The Massachusetts Office of Public Safety provides data from the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS), which is the replacement data collection system developed by the FBI to take the place of the older Uniform Crime Reporting ( UCR) system.
In Massachusetts, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) are combined into one program called MassHealth (Medicaid). MassHealth members may be able to get doctor’s visits, prescription drugs, hospital stays, and many other important services at little or no cost.
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education provides school and district profiles including accountability and assessment data.
Massachusetts Department of Higher Education Data Center is derived from a compilation of data that reflects key measurement statistics for 29 of the 29 higher education institutions in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts Libraries offers over 60 unique online digital collections and catalogs through their Virtual Catalog.
We are fortunate to have the MetroWest Health Foundation here in our region, an independent health philanthropy focused on improving the health status of the community, its individuals, and families. They offer a variety of local resources:
The MetroWest Economic Research Center at Framingham State University offers a variety of publications related to economic conditions in MetroWest and other regions across the Commonwealth.
A variety of resources on demographic and economic data are also offered by the 495/MetroWest Partnership.
Communities across the United States and internationally use community indicators projects like Berks Vital Signs to measure the health of their communities. While programs differ in design, they have a common element: the use of community data to understand and address critical issues. The Community Indicators Consortium provides general information community indicators and communities using this approach. Jacksonville, Florida was one of the earliest communities to use community indicators. The Jacksonville Community Council provides research and information on the value of community indicators. Vital Signs is a community Indicators program used by many localities in Canada. Other projects include: