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fitchburg

The eCarenomics Initiative

Fitchburg received a $400,000 three-year implementation award for its eCarenomics Initiative, an effort that is developing a “report card” analyzing six key indicators: health, education, public safety, economic development and entrepreneurship, housing, and community engagement. The initiative seeks to transform the North of Main neighborhood into a place where residents choose to live, work, and invest over the next ten years by identifying and supporting efforts that will aid in overall neighborhood improvement. The initiative is being led by the City of Fitchburg and the Montachusett Opportunity Council Inc., and is collaborating with various public, private, and nonprofit sectors.

 

A transparent set of indicators will be included in the “report card” to enable various stakeholders—residents, city government, nonprofits, and the private sector alike—to move the needle on poverty, neighborhood well-being, and investment. The “report card” will include extensive input from a local Youth Council and will be monitored by representatives from public and private sector partners. Public sector funding will be directed toward programs that are effective at moving the needle, while it will be directed away
from ineffective efforts.

map of massachusetts showing fitchburg

 

Initiative Partners

Twin Cities Community Development Corporation,
Fitchburg State University, Workers Credit Union,
Resource Management Solutions Inc.,
Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg & Leominster,
Cleghorn Neighborhood Center, Community Health Connections,
Elm Street Neighborhood Assn., Fitchburg Art Museum,
Fitchburg Historic Society, Growing Places Garden Project, Montachusett Regional Planning Commission,
North Central Charter Essential School,
North Central Mass Chamber of Commerce,
and North Central Mass Workforce Investment Board

Learn about Fitchburg

Water power and railroad lines were the original sources of Fitchburg's industrial era prosperity. The mills and factories that produced paper, tools, firearms, bicycles, and motorcycles are almost all gone. Health care, education, and light manufacturing now provide most of the employment opportunities. And the commuter rail line that connects Fitchburg to Boston has helped to attract homebuyers.

photo of fitchburg

Census data show that Fitchburg's population peaked in 1970 at 43,343 and then declined somewhat to 40,318 in 2010.

Fitchburg MA
Persons under 18 years 22.9% 21.7%
Persons 65 years and over 12.4% 13.8%
American Indian and Alaska Native 0.3% 0.3%
Asian alone 3.6% 5.3%
Black or African-American alone 5.1% 6.6%
Hispanic or Latino 21.6% 9.6%
Two or more races 3.7% 2.6%
White alone 78.2% 80.4%
White alone (not Hispanic or Latino) 68.2% 76.1%

"Nestled among rolling hills, in the valley along a branch of the Nashua River, Fitchburg illustrates the almost inevitable trend of many Massachusetts cities which, after more than a century's existence as small agricultural hamlets, were transformed in a few years into industrial cities."

Massachusetts: A Guide to Its Places and People, 1937

photo of fitchburgphoto of fitchburgphoto of fitchburg

According to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey five-year estimates for 2007-2011, 10.9% of Fitchburg residents are foreign born, compared with 14.7% statewide.

  • 7.6% born in Africa
  • 23.7% born in Asia
  • 10.3% born in Europe
  • 48.1% born in Latin America
  • 10.3% born in Northern America
  • 0.0% born in Oceania

Educational attainment in the city is rising rapidly. Additionally, the American Community Survey shows that:

  • The homeownership rate is 57.5%, compared with 63.6% statewide.
  • Fitchburg’s median home value is $213,900, compared with $343,500 statewide.
  • Median household income is $48,064, compared with $65,981 statewide.
  • 83.7% of Fitchburg residents 25 and over have graduated high school, compared with 88.9% statewide.
  • 20.2% of residents have earned a bachelor’s degree, compared with 38.7% statewide.
19.0% of Fitchburg residents are below the poverty level, compared with 10.7% statewide.
link to city data snapshot of fitchburg

Compare a range of demographic data for Fitchburg’s low- and moderate-income populations. 
Use the tool

in-depth data dashboard pdfs

Check out detailed stats on income, employment, education, health, and more provided by Clark University researchers for the Working Cities Challenge.

photo of fitchburg

According to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, as of June 2013, Fitchburg’s unemployment rate was 10.9%, compared with 7.4% statewide. Researchers at Clark University report that the top five employers are:

  • City of Fitchburg
  • Fitchburg School District
  • Fitchburg State University
  • Simonds International Corporation
  • UMass Memorial Health Care Inc.

In addition to being a major employer, Fitchburg State University maintains an active community outreach program that includes:

  • The Douglas and Isabelle Crocker Center for Civic Engagement, which aims to “help organizations thrive, develop competencies in best practices, empower people to build a better community and maximize collaboration between Fitchburg State University and the community.”
  • The Regional Economic Development Institute, which seeks to provide “cutting-edge, easy-to-use data and analysis to help North Central Massachusetts businesses, municipalities and communities make informed decisions to spur investment and regional economic development.”
  • An impressive history of improving public health through collective action, including through an initiative called Fun n FITchburg. A 10% drop was seen in childhood obesity between 2009 and 2012.

Lisa Wong, the first minority in the post of Fitchburg mayor, was elected at the age of 28 and has attracted attention for her energetic innovations, such as a “street mayor’’ program to use engaged and alert residents for block-by-block improvement.