diversitydatakids.org: quality of life and diversity data on families
The Heller School For Social Policty And Management The Heller School For Social Policy and Management Brandeis University

Frequently Asked Questions

About diversitydatakids.org

  1. What is diversitydatakids.org?
  2. How do I sign up for the mailing list?
  3. How do I contact diversitydatakids.org?
  4. What is diversitydata.org?
  5. Will updates be made to the diversitydatakids.org website over time?

Overview of diversitydatakids.org Concepts, Methods and Indicators

  1. How are topics areas for diversitydatakids.org selected?
  2. Why does diversitydatakids.org provide data for seven different location types?
  3. How are indicators for diversitydatakids.org selected?

Racial/Ethnic Group Definitions

  1. How is race/ethnicity measured?
  2. What is the difference between race and ethnicity on the diversitydatakids.org website?
  3. Why are some racial/ethnic groups not available for certain indicators?
  4. What about people who indicate that they are multi-racial?
  5. How does diversitydatakids.org determine which racial/ethnic groups to include in website?
  6. Why do the reported race/ethnicity categories sometimes differ for different indicators?

Geographies

  1. What are the diversitydatakids.org location types?
  2. Why aren’t all indicators presented for all location types?
  3. What are Metropolitan Areas?
  4. Are metropolitan boundary area definitions constant over time?
  5. How are the 100 largest city definitions defined?
  6. Are city definitions constant over time?
  7. How are the 100 largest school districts defined?
  8. Are school district definitions constant over time?
  9. Are county definitions constant over time?
  10. How are neighborhoods defined on the diversitydatakids.org website?

Data Suppression

  1. Why is data suppressed for certain geographic areas or population groups?
  2. How are decisions made on what data to suppress?

diversitydatakids.org Website Tools

  1. What is a Profile?
  2. What is a Ranking?
  3. What is a Map?
  4. Is it possible to download data from Profiles, Rankings, or Maps?
  5. What are the Child Opportunity Maps?
  6. What is a Policy Equity Assessment?

About diversitydatakids.org


1. What is diversitydatakids.org?
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:

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2. How do I sign up for the mailing list?
To sign up for the diversitydatakids.org mailing list, click here, fill out the provided form, and submit.

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3. How do I contact diversitydatakids.org?
To contact diversitydatakids.org, click here, fill out the provided form, and submit.

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4. What is diversitydata.org?
diversitydata.org, a partner website to diversitydatakids.org, is an online tool for exploring quality of life data across metropolitan areas for people of different racial/ethnic groups in the United States. It allows users to create customized data profiles and rankings of indicators in eight areas of life (domains), including demographics, education, economic opportunity, housing, neighborhoods, and health. It also provides a mapping utility, showing the range of indicator values for metros across the U.S., as well as the ability to create bar charts and histograms to further visualize the data.

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5. Will updates be made to the diversitydatakids.org website over time?
The site will be updated periodically with the addition of new reports, updates to existing indicators, and the addition of new indicators and topic areas. Check back often or subscribe to the mailing list for notifications of important site updates.

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Overview of diversitydatakids.org Concepts, Methods and Indicators


1. How are topics areas for diversitydatakids.org selected?
diversitydatakids.org indicators span multiple topic areas (population demographics and diversity, education, early childhood care and education, school segregation and poverty, health, neighborhoods, residential segregation, income and poverty, and more), chosen to encompass the many dimensions of child health and wellbeing and the wide range of factors underlying child opportunity and equity. The selection of these topic areas is informed by the public health field and the framework of social determinants of health. Going beyond the narrow definition of health as simply the absence of disease, these topics provide valuable information on factors necessary 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.”

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2. Why does diversitydatakids.org provide data for seven different location types?
Just as the racial and ethnic composition of the child population differs across the U.S., opportunities and inequities also differ across geography, which calls for more tailored policy solutions, rather than a “one-size-fits-all” approach. diversitydatakids.org allows users to see and assess important differences across geographic space by presenting data for up to seven geographic levels (depending on data availability): the neighborhood, county, city, school district, metropolitan area, state and national levels. Because we aim to facilitate cross-location comparisons, we limit our indicators to those which are available for a substantial number of locations within a specified location type.

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3. How are indicators for diversitydatakids.org selected?
We present indicators that:

 

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Racial/Ethnic Group Definitions


1. How is race/ethnicity measured?
Most of the race/ethnicity data presented in diversitydatakids.org was gathered by self-report—a respondent chooses the racial/ethnic category which he/she feels best describes him/her. For a discussion of how this data was collected in the 2010 Census, see here.

We recognize that the racial and ethnic classifications typically used in in large national data collections and surveys may be aggregated in ways that obscure important underlying difference within groups. While we are often constrained to report data according to these widely collected and reported categories and, at times, find it necessary to combine groups to bolster group sizes in order to improve data reliability, we also strive to systematically identify important data gaps that limit the ability to track progress towards greater child equity and advocate for better data systems across sectors.

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2. What is the difference between race and ethnicity on the diversitydatakids.org website?
Race and ethnicity are asked as separate questions on the Decennial Census and in many other (although not all) data sources. When separate questions are asked, it allows us to create “combined” categories that provide information simultaneously about a person’s race and ethnicity (e.g. non-Hispanic white). Most Census surveys provide a choice of six racial categories (White, African-American/black, American Indian and Alaska Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, and some “other” race), and respondents can choose as many as they believe apply to them. On census surveys and throughout most of the diversitydatakids.org website (unless otherwise specified), ethnicity refers to Hispanic or Latino origin. The Census Bureau states that origin can be viewed as the heritage, nationality group, lineage, or country of birth of the person or the person's parents or ancestors before their arrival in the United States. People who identify their origin as Spanish, Hispanic, or Latino may be of any race. When possible, diversitydatakids.org reports data for people of Hispanic origin (regardless of race) and for non-Hispanic people of the major race groups (e.g. non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black, etc.). See the “Notes” section of particular indicators for more information on the racial/ethnic groups reported for specific indicators.

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3. Why are some racial/ethnic groups not available for certain indicators?
We attempt to present the most comprehensive set of racial/ethnic groups possible for each indicator, within the constraints of the underlying source data. In certain cases, especially with data drawn from samples, data reliability issues may lead us to omit or suppress data for racial/groups with small population sizes. This omission or suppression varies according to the geographic area being described but most commonly occurs for American Indian and Alaska Natives, people of “Two or More Races,” people of “Other” race, and Asians and Pacific Islanders. In other cases, the underlying data is collected or reported in a manner which makes it impossible to separately identify people who may be of two or more races or who identify as having certain combinations of race and ethnicity (Hispanic origin).

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4. What about people who indicate that they are multi-racial?
Some data sources, including most Census data products, allow respondents to choose as many racial groups as they believe apply to them. In these cases, diversitydatakids.org will usually report data separately for the group “Two of More Races.” People reporting more than one race are counted only in the “Two of More Races” group, not in each of the multiple racial groups that they specified. See the Notes of particular indicators for more information on the racial/ethnic groups reported for specific indicators.

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5. How does diversitydatakids.org determine which racial/ethnic groups to include in website?
We attempt to present the most comprehensive set of racial/ethnic groups possible for each indicator, within the constraints of the underlying source data. However, in some instances, groups will be combined (e.g. Asians and Pacific Islanders) or decomposed to maximize comparability over time or account for other data reliability or availability issues or to highlight important differences for particular groups of interest.

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6. Why do the reported race/ethnicity categories sometimes differ for different indicators?
Ideally we would present data for the same racial/ethnic categories across all indicators in order to maximize consistency and comparability. Unfortunately, this standard is not always possible due to the variety of ways that source data are collected and reported/aggregated.

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Geographies


1. What are the diversitydatakids.org location types?
Users of the diversitydatakids.org Profiles, Rankings, and Maps tools can select data from as many as five location types (levels of geography), depending on data availability. These location types are:

Data for the United States as a whole are provided through the Profiles tool and as a comparison data point in Rankings and Maps. Additionally, the Child Opportunity Index Maps provide data for all census tracts (neighborhoods) within the 100 largest metropolitan areas.

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2. Why aren’t all indicators presented for all location types?
diversitydatakids.org understands the value of data at multiple levels of geography and attempts to present data for a wide range of location types. However, data are not always collected, compiled, or made available for all location types from original data sources/entities. In other cases, data are not comparable across jurisdictions/places within a specific location type. Finally, in some cases a location type is not relevant for a certain indicator. For example, county-level data would not be relevant/applicable for a policy-focused indicator that reports state-level funding amounts for a policy/program.

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3. What are Metropolitan Areas?
Metropolitan areas (or Metropolitan Statistical Areas) are geographic entities defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for use by Federal statistical agencies in collecting, tabulating, and publishing Federal statistics. A metropolitan area contains a core urban area of 50,000 or more population and includes the counties containing the core urban area, as well as any adjacent counties that have a high degree of social and economic integration (as measured by commuting to work) with the urban core. In almost all cases, diversitydatakids.org presents data using consistent boundaries, defined as of December, 2009. Click here for a listing of the counties which make up metropolitan areas. Note that diversitydatakids.org does not present data for smaller Micropolitan Statistical Areas.

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4. Are metropolitan boundary area definitions constant over time?
The Office of Management and Budget revises metropolitan area boundary definitions after each decennial census to take into effect changes in population and commuting patterns. In addition, smaller changes are made throughout the decade. In almost all cases, diversitydatakids.org utilizes constant metropolitan area boundaries defined as of December, 2009. Due to geographic boundary changes, data for the Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, CO, Greeley, CO, and Boulder, CO metro areas are not strictly comparable for some indicators between 2000 and later years. These differences are noted in the indicator Notes.

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5. How are the 100 largest city definitions defined?
The 100 largest cities are those 100 cities with the largest population as measured by the 2010 Decennial Census.

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6. Are city definitions constant over time?
Data for cities are reported using geographic boundary definitions as of the year that data were collected, which are not necessarily constant over time. Users should therefore interpret changes over time for cities with caution, since some portion of the change may be due to shifting geographic boundary definitions. In the case of two cities, Louisville, KY and Honolulu, HI, boundaries were found to have changed significantly after 2000. Therefore, data presented for 2000 for the city of “Louisville, KY” should not be compared to data presented for later years for “Louisville/Jefferson County (Metro Government-balance).” Data presented for 2000 for “Honolulu Census Designated Place, HI” should not be compared to data presented for later years for “Urban Honolulu Census Designated Place.”

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7. How are the 100 largest school districts defined?
The 100 largest school districts are those 100 school districts with the largest total student enrollments as measured by the 2010-2011 National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data.

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8. Are school district definitions constant over time?
Data for school districts are reported using geographic boundary definitions as of the year that data were collected, which are not necessarily constant over time. Users should therefore interpret changes over time for school districts with caution, since some portion of the change may be due to shifting geographic boundary definitions.

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9. Are county definitions constant over time?
Data are presented for counties which existed as of the 2010 Decennial Census. In the few cases where these counties did not exist in earlier years (for which indicator data are presented) or only existed with different boundaries, they are coded as “NA” (not applicable) for the earlier years.

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10. How are neighborhoods defined on the diversitydatakids.org website?
Throughout the diversitydatakids.org site, the term “neighborhood” refers to a census tract (unless otherwise specified). According to the Census Bureau, a tract is “a small, relatively permanent statistical subdivision of a county delineated by a local committee of census data users for the purpose of presenting data. Census tracts nest within counties, and their boundaries normally follow visible features, but may follow legal geography boundaries and other non-visible features in some instances, Census tracts ideally contain about 4,000 people and 1,600 housing units.”

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Data Suppression


1. Why is data suppressed for certain geographic areas or population groups?
diversitydatakids.org attempts to present data for the widest range of locations and racial/ethnic groups possible and to ensure high levels of data quality and reliability. In some cases, data are suppressed, either by the original data source entity/agency or by diversitydatakids.org. Data are most commonly suppressed because of small sample sizes, which lessen data reliability, or to protect confidentiality. In the case of several indicators, for which data are drawn from surveys, information on confidence interval size can be obtained from supplementary files, which can be accessed from a link in the indicator “Notes” section.

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2. How are decisions made on what data to suppress?
Data quality, reliability, and accuracy are core priorities of the diversitydatakids.org project. Decisions about data suppression are made on an indicator-specific basis, based on scientifically rigorous methods, advanced methodology and deep knowledge of the research base and methods for a specific topic area and/or data source. Information on suppression rules can often be found in the indicator “Notes” or in the supplemental files provided for certain indicators. If you need further clarification about indicator suppression rules, please contact a member of the diversitydatakids.org team, contact us.

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diversitydatakids.org Website Tools


1. What is a Profile?
A profile is a customizable list of indicators for a location of your choice. You can choose which indicators to include in your profile listing from any of the domains by clicking the "Select Custom Indicators" link.

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2. What is a Ranking?
A ranking is a sorted list of values for a chosen indicator for all locations within a chosen location type. Counties are ranked within a specified state. You may choose to sort locations alphabetically or numerically from low to high values or from high to low values.

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3. What is a Map?
Standard indicator maps (as opposed to a Child Opportunity Map, discussed below) are thematic maps showing the spatial variation of one specified indicator across locations of a chosen location type. The maps show four categories, representing the four quartiles of values for a given indicator. Each of the four categories is assigned a different color, plus a category reflecting “missing data,” where necessary. By moving your cursor over a location, you can see the underlying data value.

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4. Is it possible to download data from Profiles, Rankings, or Maps?
At this time it is possible to print Profiles, Rankings, and Maps and to share them through email or a wide range of social media applications, but not to download them. Screenshots and copy/paste from HTML pages are also ways to extract the data from the site. We plan to add the direct data download feature soon.

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5. What are the Child Opportunity Maps?
The Child Opportunity Maps, developed in partnership with the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Ohio State University, are a unique set of interactive maps for the 100 largest metropolitan areas, showing relative levels of opportunity for children at the neighborhood level. The maps reflect the newly-developed Child Opportunity Index: a composite of 19 indicators important to children’s opportunity to grow and thrive across the dimensions of educational opportunity, health and physical environment, and social and economic opportunities. In addition to seeing the spatial distribution of opportunities across a metro area, the user can also overlay the concentration of the child population for specified racial/ethnic groups in order to see the exposure of children of different backgrounds to neighborhoods of varying opportunity. Click here to read more about the Child Opportunity Maps.

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6. What is a Policy Equity Assessment?
The diversitydatakids.org policy equity assessment is a unique, three-stage approach to gauging the effectiveness of social policies and programs in improving equity. The first stage, logic, examines the program’s history, goals and design, with attention to whether the program’s original conception and subsequent evolution address the needs of particularly vulnerable children and/or reduces inequities between subgroups of children. The second stage, capacity, considers the program’s ability to deliver services to all eligible children who could potentially benefit from it, and in a manner that is likely to produce positive outcomes across different subgroups of children and geographic locations (e.g., adequate quality and intensity of services). The third and final stage, research evidence, reviews empirical evidence on program impacts in light of the logic and capacity findings to draw conclusions about the program’s effectiveness in improving outcomes for all children and reducing inequities in child outcomes both within the program and at the population level.

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To learn more about diversitydatakids.org, visit our About Us page.