diversitydatakids.org is a state-of-the-art research project designed to meet the urgent need for a national, integrated information source that helps us understand:
Who our children are, by documenting and tracking the rapidly changing demographics of children and families in the U.S.;
What our children need, by establishing a system for monitoring not only child outcomes, but also key factors (including opportunities, conditions, and resources) that drive child outcomes;
How to improve opportunities for all children, especially those that may need the most help, by focusing explicitly and rigorously on issues of racial/ethnic and socioeconomic equity in child health and wellbeing.
The child population of the U.S. is increasingly racially and ethnically diverse, with just under half of the child population comprised of Hispanic, black, Asian, American Indian/Alaska Native, and other racial/ethnic minority children. Unfortunately, large racial/ethnic and socioeconomic inequities stubbornly persist in the opportunities and conditions that allow children to thrive. Because all children have the right to grow and develop in a healthy way and because the foundations of adult productivity and health are established in childhood, we must improve opportunities for all children to fulfill their potential. This will not only enhance the quality of childhood for all children but foster future economic, social, and civic vitality and health. Prominent guardian organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and UNICEF have prioritized equity in child health and wellbeing as a key principle guiding policy development and practices that support children and families. Building equitable opportunities for all children (especially the most vulnerable) is not only a moral imperative, but a sound investment in America’s future.
Our vision is one of equity in child health. We believe that all children should have an equal chance to achieve the Institute of Medicine’s (2004) definition of child health, that is, “to develop and realize their potential, satisfy their needs, and develop the capacities that allow them to interact successfully with their biological, physical, and social environments.” Achieving equity requires that all children and their families have equitable access to supportive environments and resources in the settings where they live, learn, work and play. It also requires the eradication of unfair and avoidable systematic differences between groups of children in their opportunities to attain healthy development.
Despite increasing child diversity, persistent inequities, and recognition of equity as a policy goal, policymakers and practitioners must currently piece together limited information from disparate and fragmented sources to document equitable progress and policy gaps. To help fill this gap, diversitydatakids.org offers the first comprehensive, equity-focused information system to monitor progress towards improved wellbeing for children of all racial/ethnic groups through the creation and dissemination of unique indicators and analysis of:
1. The state of wellbeing, diversity, opportunity and equity of children in the U.S., and
2. The availability, capacity and research evidence supporting the effectiveness of public policies and programs to equitably serve children of all racial and ethnic groups and reduce disparities among them.
Dedicated focus on race and ethnicity: All of our data and analyses are presented by race/ethnicity, and when possible, also by socioeconomic status and immigrant status.
Dedicated focus on equity: We seek out and highlight the underlying factors that limit equitable child opportunity and outcomes, and then identify points of intervention. For example, we examine the extent of Family and Medical Leave Act coverage across states for working parents, recognizing that parents’ time to attend to their children’s needs is a valuable resource that may not be available to parents of all racial/ethnic, immigrant, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
Focus on the importance of geography: Just as the racial and ethnic composition of the child population differs across the U.S., opportunities and inequities also differ by location, calling for a more tailored policy solution rather than a “one-size-fits-all” approach. In diversitydatakids.org, users can see and assess important differences across geographic space.
Accountability tool based on centralized information: The diversitydatakids.org website is the “go-to” source for information on the state of wellbeing and equity for children in the U.S., providing a centralized data hub that can help users become more informed advocates for equitable progress among all children.
Policy analysis: We conduct systematic reviews of policy using an equity perspective, providing not only a narrative policy analysis of the program’s design logic, capacity and research evidence, but also state-level policy indicators to measure whether the program has the capacity to adequately serve all eligible children. For instance, we review the available evidence of Head Start’s effectiveness in improving school readiness outcomes for vulnerable children, and also estimate the capacity of Head Start to serve low-income children of various racial/ethnic groups across states.
Wide and deep data coverage and customizability: Our indicators span multiple domains (education, housing, health and more), up to seven geographies (from nation to neighborhood) and multiple time periods. Users can examine data by race/ethnicity, customize queries and produce a range of data reports.
Unique indicators: In addition to providing hundreds of standard indicators broken down by race and ethnicity, we provide unique equity-focused indicators of known structural factors that influence disparities in opportunities for healthy child development. For example, we examine the level of school segregation across metropolitan areas, large cities and large school districts, and provide a new, child-focused neighborhood opportunity index for each neighborhood in the 100 largest metropolitan areas.
Documenting data gaps: We systematically identify important data gaps that limit the ability to track progress towards greater child equity and advocate for better data systems across sectors.
Query the database of child wellbeing and policy indicators by topic, by geographic area (national, state, county, metropolitan area, city, or school district) and by race/ethnicity;
Display the results of data queries through three website functions: customizable area profile reports, area ranking reports, and thematic maps;
Explore maps of child-focused opportunity indices for all neighborhoods in each of the 100 largest metropolitan areas and overlay the child population by race/ethnicity on these contextual maps of neighborhood opportunity;
Read equity-focused analyses of selected policy and program areas that are relevant to child wellbeing, for example, Head Start, and coming soon, Child Care Subsidies, Family and Medical Leave, and Housing Subsidies.
Read and share our infographics, briefs and reports featuring our rigorous data and policy analysis on issues of child wellbeing and equity.
Please visit our FAQs page for additional information about the diversitydatakids.org project.