Economic indicators, such as GDP and median income, do not fully represent quality of life and subjective well-being of individuals and communities. Therefore, more nuanced approaches are necessary to capture the range of factors that contribute to well-being.

In 2015, the Center for Innovation through Data Intelligence (CIDI) commissioned a Capstone team from SIPA to create a place-based index of socio-economic well-being in NYC communities. This report identified and gathered data for 6 domains (Education, Health, Economic Security, Community Safety, Housing, Core Infrastructure) to capture the well-being of NYC communities across the 5 boroughs. This well-being index has been an asset to CIDI and the City’s health and human service agencies in demonstrating community well-being and identifying areas of service need.

The Capstone team has (1) refined and improved the methodology used to create the index (including adding one domain, Community Vitality, and several new indicators), (2) created a 2019 index with the most up-to-date data, (3) created a framework to compare and visualize well-being trends over time, (4) used that framework to analyze trends between the 2015 and 2019 reports, and (5) documented their statistical methodology, so that the report can be replicated annually. Specifically, the team considered the domains that heavily influence well-being and identified the measurable indicators that are most representative of each. After analysis of up-to-date public data, the Capstone team assigned a composite domain score for every neighborhood in New York City, representing its well-being.