In a crowded field, this has always been one of my favorite quotes from Robert F. Kennedy:
“[T]he gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country, it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it can tell us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans.”
Kennedy’s gorgeous words rightly point out that statistics are a limited and incomplete tool for measuring the vitality and health of a community or nation. But, truth be told, statistics are at least a little helpful in understanding some things about a place. In that spirit, this recently produced statistical profile of New Rochelle from Hudson Valley Patterns for Progress is worth a look.