Learn more about the Knowledge Center Service

A Snapshot of Child Opportunity Across the U.S.: National Inequity Patterns

by Clemens Noelke; Dolores Acevedo-Garcia; Nancy McArdle; Nick Huntington; Nomi Sofer; Rebecca Huber

Jan 17, 2020

The Child Opportunity Index (COI) measures and maps the quality of resources and conditions (e.g., good early childhood education centers and schools, green spaces, access to healthy food, low poverty) that matter for children to develop in a healthy way in the neighborhoods where they live. The Index looks at 29 key factors that affect how children experience their neighborhoods in three domains: education, health and environment, and social and economic.

The Child Opportunity Index is the first index of neighborhood conditions that specifically focuses on those neighborhood features that help children thrive. The Geography of Child Opportunity report covers all neighborhoods in the 100 largest metro areas—cities and their surrounding suburbs—which are home to 67% of U.S. children. Subsequent reports will include analysis of data for all neighborhoods in the U.S.

The Child Opportunity Score ranks all neighborhoods in the U.S. according to their Child Opportunity Index on a scale of 1 to 100. The Child Opportunity Score for a given metro area summarizes the neighborhood opportunity experienced by the typical child in that metro and allows us to make comparisons between metro areas. For example, in Bakersfield, California, the Child Opportunity Score is 20, while in Boston, Massachusetts, the score is 79. These differences indicate that children across the U.S. are growing up in neighborhoods with very different conditions and resources for healthy child development.

A Snapshot of Child Opportunity Across the U.S.: National Inequity Patterns