Levels of Childhood Opportunity Vary Widely Across the U.S.

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Researchers at the Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy have developed the Childhood Opportunity Index, which provides data from communities across the nation and has been used to help inform policy decisions related to equality and childhood. The Index includes data from 47,000 neighborhoods across 100 U.S. cities to provide each with a score between 1 and 100, with a higher score indicating a higher level of childhood opportunity based on several key measures. The Index has shown that while many cities may have a high level of opportunity overall, the levels can vary significantly across neighborhoods in the same area. For example, the gap between opportunity levels in nearby communities is lower in cities that are predominantly white while there are much larger gaps in opportunity across communities with large black populations. The Index shows that white children live in neighborhoods with a median score of 73 while black children live in neighborhoods with a median score of 24.

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