The Indexer provides objective data and analysis that describes growth and change in the Puget Sound region in order to foster good decision-making.
Seattle and its surrounding areas are in the midst of transformational change. Not since the Gold Rush days of the early 20th century has the region experienced concurrent economic, demographic and social and environmental change at such a rapid pace. Political and civic leaders, as well as citizens of the region, need solid, reliable data to understand this change and to respond to it. The Indexer provides that information.
The work of the Indexer is grounded in the following key principles:
Non-partisanship. The Indexer does not adhere to any party or movement. While the outcome of its research may appear to support the views of a party or movement, The Indexer remains fully independent.
Policy neutrality. The goal of the Indexer is more informed public policy-making at the local and regional level, and findings will at times point in the direction of specific policy approaches. The Indexer, however, will not explicitly support any public policies.
Evidence-based analysis. All analysis that accompanies data will be based strictly on evidence established through solid research. Where evidence is contested, that will be noted.
Transparency. The Indexer will always list sources of data and will describe the limitations of that data in terms of coverage, error margins and potential biases.
Timeliness. Availability of data always lags the time period being covered. Lags can be as short as a few days or as long as several years. The Indexer endeavors to keep its data as up-to-date as possible and will inform its users when data updates are available.
Data sources. The data presented by the Indexer comes from public sources, unless otherwise noted. Most of the public data is published, but some may be accessed through public information requests. The Indexer will be very clear when it presents data obtained from private research.
By attaching “Puget Sound” to its name, the Indexer acknowledges that the most of Western Washington is tied together economically and culturally and that commuters travel throughout the Puget Sound area. Resources and practical considerations will, however, generally limit the work of the Indexer to smaller geographies.
A good deal of the data will be presented at the level of the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue Metropolitan Statistical Area, as defined by the Census Bureau. This includes King, Pierce and Snohomish counties. Data for the metro area will often be presented for each of the three counties independently. Some data sources use a King-Snohomish definition, with Pierce County listed separately. Kitsap County is its own metro area. National comparisons will generally be made at the metro area level.
The Indexer is based in King County, and will often present more detail for King County and its component cities. The Indexer will make use of the Census-defined Public Use Microdata Areas (PUMAs) which are subareas of counties that provide a higher level of detail with adequate statistical validity.
Some useful data is available only at the state level.
As the Indexer expands its capacity it will expand both the reach and depth of its geographic scope.
The Editor in Chief of the Puget Sound Indexer is Michael Luis