Document Type



Identifying a few indicators that summarily tracked key dimensions of neighborhoods would be invaluable for neighborhood monitoring and measuring impacts of interventions. Our goal is to search empirically for such robust, parsimonious indicators. In five cities we analyze the interrelationships among a broad set of census tract indicators related to: mortgage market activity; home prices; jobs and firms; demographic, socio-economic, and housing stock characteristics; crime; and public assistance and health. Through factor analysis we identify four to six neighborhood dimensions among these indicators that are common across cities. Using regression we identify a parsimonious number of indicators that are inexpensive, annually updated, and available for all U.S. communities, yet robustly capture significant variation in these neighborhood dimensions. Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) data on mortgage approval rates, loan amounts, and loan applications, and Dunn and Bradstreet data on businesses comprise such a set for four of the dimensions.


Policy Design, Analysis, and Evaluation | Public Policy | Urban Studies | Urban Studies and Planning


This is the author's final accepted manuscript version of an article subsequently published in and copyrighted to the Journal of Planning Education and Research 24(3) (2005), doi: 10.1177/0739456X04267717. Archived here in accordance with publisher policy.