Where does your community rank on inclusive growth? Find out with our new data tool

U.S. map, without Alaska and Hawaii, on teal background

By Timothy J. Bartik, Brad Hershbein, Kathleen Bolter, and Kyle Huisman

When it comes to economic development, averages only tell you so much. For instance, a local economy could be booming for college graduates, while leaving those without a bachelor’s degree behind. To understand whether economic growth is inclusive, we need data that show how different demographic groups fare.

Our new online data tool allows researchers and economic development organizations to benchmark how their community performed in the first two decades of the 21st century compared to U.S. peer communities. Users can explore comparisons both for the overall population and for groups defined by age, gender, race and ethnicity, and education. 

This data tool is unique in providing “apples to apples” comparisons. We examine core-based statistical areas (CBSAs), which encompass urban centers and their interconnected surrounding regions. We control for both local prices and the demographic mix of residents to reveal how each of 300+ CBSAs in our data grew between 2000 and 2019 compared to peer communities.

The results are sometimes surprising. For example, the common narrative that tech-focused coastal cities flourished after the Great Recession is misleading—at least for many of their residents. San Francisco is just one of the cities that achieved great success in terms of real earnings growth for college-educated workers while making only minimal progress for those without a college degree. Pittsburgh, by contrast, achieved great earnings growth for both more- and less-educated workers. Strong average growth does not guarantee shared growth.

Interested users can explore the data online with our interactive tool. The entire database, which examines both CBSAs and commuting zones, can also be downloaded for further research and policy analysis.

Details of how the measures of economic growth are constructed are available in the report, “Broadly Shared Local Economic Success Since 2000: New Measures and New Lessons for Communities,” by Timothy J. Bartik, Brad Hershbein, Kathleen Bolter, and Kyle Huisman. Interactive tool designed by Gerrit Anderson.


Timothy J. Bartik headshot

Timothy J. Bartik

Senior Economist
Brad J. Hershbein headshot

Brad J. Hershbein

Senior Economist and Deputy Director of Research
Kathleen Bolter headshot

Kathleen Bolter

Project Manager, Policies for Place Initiative
Kyle Huisman  headshot

Kyle Huisman

Research Analyst

Research Topics: Economic Development