Intro to Indicators

During this project, which ran from 2003 to 2012, we developed and used a set of regional indicators to measure conditions and track changes in communities across the greater Philadelphia region (defined as the central cities of Philadelphia and Camden plus the Pennsylvania counties of Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery, and the New Jersey counties of Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, and Salem). Included on this site, and throughout our research, is information pertaining to a set of social, environmental, and economic indicators portraying the quality of life in local communities.

The indicators we chose encompassed a wealth of information gathered from dozens of different data sources. They allowed us to examine the rich variety of conditions existing in the region’s 353 municipalities. Since the city of Philadelphia itself contains widely differing communities, wherever appropriate we subdivided the city of Philadelphia into the dozen sub-sections used by the Philadelphia City Planning Commission as Planning Analysis Districts. The goal was not to rank communities against each other but to identify emerging strengths and shared problems. In numerous places, our reports compared our region with eight other major metropolitan areas, four of which are flourishing regions that may serve as models (Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis and Phoenix), along with two older industrial areas similar to ours (Detroit and Cleveland), and two regional competitors (Baltimore and Pittsburgh).

The greater Philadelphia region has benefited from many organizations collecting, analyzing, and publishing information about specific dimensions of change in the city of Philadelphia or the region, which some define to include New Jersey while others do not. Their work has been issued in different formats and on varying time schedules for a wide range of audiences. The Metropolitan Philadelphia Indicators Project (MPIP), through this website and its associated publications, brought together in one place a wealth of social, economic and environmental data in order to contribute to building civic agendas by providing a common information base for researchers as well as community and regional activists.