Child Opportunity Index 2.0 in action

November 30, 2020

The Child Opportunity Index 2.0 was released by the Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy in January 2020, providing neighborhood-level measurements of 29 key factors, such as good schools and early childhood education centers, green spaces, access to healthy food and low poverty, all necessary for healthy child development. First developed in 2014, the COI sparks conversations about unequal access to opportunity and spurs action to increase equity. Each neighborhood receives a child opportunity score on a scale from 1 (lowest) to 100 (highest). COI 2.0 has garnered more than 60 media stories, including in The Washington Post, Time magazine and CNN Health.

Accessible description of the Child Opportunity Scores map.

Kansas City, Missouri

5x: Children with asthma in very-low opportunity neighborhoods are five times more likely to be hospitalized

“Pediatricians recognize that COVID-19 exacerbates the inequities that have been present in our communities for a long time. ... It is truly vital for us to understand these inequities and face them head-on.” — Dr. Molly Krager, Children’s Mercy Hospital

Chicago metro area

Just 2% of white children live in very low-opportunity neighborhoods vs just 3% of Black children live in very high-opportunity neighborhoods

Brittney Lange-Maia, an epidemiologist at Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center, credits the COI as a “game changer and turning point” in identifying priority neighborhoods that need more resources.

Albany metro area, New York

In 2014, Albany was the lowest opportunity place for Black children to live among the 100 largest U.S. metro areas

This statistic led to a five-year capital improvement plan to revitalize Albany’s parks to increase equity and access to these resources, highlighted in a December 2019 NPR story, “In Nearly Every U.S. Metro Area, New Data Show Opportunity Lags for Kids of Color.

Columbus, Ohio

8th most unequal city (out of 100 biggest metros)

Columbus Dispatch Editorial, Feb. 5. 2020: “Columbus leaders tend to tout our city as ‘All-American,’ as in, embodying the best things about middle America. … [But Columbus] is a very poor example of one of the most important American values of all: a chance for everyone to get ahead. Changing that needs to be a top priority.”

Tampa metro area, Florida

63% of Black children live in low- or very-low-opportunity neighborhoods, compared to just 29% of white children

The Juvenile Welfare Board (JWB) of Pinellas County uses the COI to inform its work on food insecurity, school readiness and child safety. “When local leaders have data that’s specific to the census tracts they serve, they can be more strategic in providing services, reducing barriers and raising funds.” — JWB’s Starr Silver

Austin, Texas

1/3 of Hispanic children live in very-low-opportunity neighborhoods

Austin Statesman, Feb. 16, 2020: “The data show an unacceptable gap between kids of different backgrounds and neighborhoods. … We can pair these data with solutions like better green spaces to improve health, reduce inequities and respond to climate change.” — Kevin Lanza, postdoctoral fellow at UTHealth School of Public Health

research impact highlightsThis story is part of the 2020 Heller Social Policy Impact Report, showcasing a selection of high-impact research and public engagement from the faculty, researchers and students of the Heller School for Social Policy and Management from July 2019 through June 2020.

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