Indices rank places. They are important because they can be used to guide the distribution of resources from the top down under different circumstances. How an area compares to others when considering a particular set of factors could effect how its needs are prioritized and therefore met. Indices are also made to compare places in terms of livability or growth, these comparisons determine which cities are more attractive to potential residents.
Indices are made and published by federal, state, and local government agencies, universities, research nonprofits, as well as for profit companies.
This project compares data for 8 national indices, as well as the census measures that go into 15 additional indices to provide an overview of how indices are made, by whom, and for what purpose.