Poster Paper: The Child Opportunity Index 2.0

Saturday, November 9, 2019
Plaza Building: Concourse Level, Plaza Exhibits (Sheraton Denver Downtown)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Dolores Acevedo-Garcia, Erin Hardy, Nancy McArdle, Nick Huntington and Clemens Noelke, Brandeis University

Researchers are only beginning to understand the multiple pathways through which neighborhoods influence child development and long-term outcomes. To address the need for a neighborhood-level metric and data resource that captures the many ways through which neighborhoods affect children, and the Kirwan Institute at Ohio State have developed the Child Opportunity Index (COI).

COI 2.0 builds on and supersedes the initial 2014 release of the index (COI 1.0, available at It is a census tract level composite index, combining information from 26 indicators covering three domains of opportunity (education, health and environment, and socioeconomic). Nearly half of the included indicators are based on the ACS. It covers all census tracts in the 100 largest metro areas for 2010 and 2015 and allows users to study determinants, levels, trends and inequalities in child opportunity within and across metro areas and over time.

The COI is unique with respect to its focus on multidimensional neighborhood features relevant for children and indicators unavailable elsewhere, such as tract-level measures of school achievement. It has drawn users from diverse sectors and communities, and has been used by local service providers, community organizations, media, researchers, policymakers, planners, and national equity-focused organizations to increase awareness of equity and promote community discussions, target services and programs, better understand the connections between neighborhoods and health, and inform needs assessments, resource allocation, and policy development.

Indicators in the education domain capture the quality of learning context from pre-kindergarten to high school. Health and environment indicators measure access to health care and healthy environments. Socio-economic indicators capture economic opportunities and resources. The indicators are combined into domain-specific scores and an aggregate score using empirical weights. These weights are constructed as a function of the respective indicators’ associations with long-term socio-economic outcomes from the Opportunity Atlas and child health outcomes from the 500 Cities Project.

The COI 2.0 will be accessible via a web application allowing users to visually explore the COI in their communities and across the US, and a database that provides a single, harmonized source of indicators of child opportunity that are comparable across space and time.