National Equity Atlas: March Update

21 Mar 2016 | Rosamaria Carrillo
National Equity Atlas: March Update

Dear Equity Atlas users,

It has been an eventful couple of weeks! Since Leap Day, the Atlas has grown by three new indicators, been featured at the White House, and powered new data-driven stories about the economic imperative of equity in The AtlanticGrist, and elsewhere. Here is a recap:

New Data on School Poverty

  • The concentration of students of color in schools where most of their classmates are poor is a major driver of the achievement gap — and a critical indicator of whether communities are setting up their young people to succeed. Our new School Poverty indicator shares this data by race/ethnicity, grade level, and over time, from 2000 to 2014.
  • Ron Brownstein and his “Next America” team at The Atlantic used our data to investigate trends and solutions in the nation’s 100 largest cities, producing three stories: "The Concentration of Poverty in American Schools," "Separate and Still Unequal," and "Where Children Rarely Escape Poverty" (focusing on Charlotte).
  • Writer Alan Gottlieb drew on Atlas data to explore school poverty trends in Denver and Colorado Springs for The Colorado Trust’s blog.


New Data on Air Pollution

  • Decades of studies show that people of color are far more likely to live in polluted neighborhoods, leading to greater risks of asthma, cancer, and other health problems that hinder well-being and productivity. Last week, we added two indicators—Air Pollution: Exposure Index and Air Pollution: Unequal Burden—that measure the level of exposure to air toxics for residents as well as the extent to which a given demographic group shoulders a disproportionate burden of the area’s air pollution.
  • Grist’s Aura Bogado wrote about how these indicators reveal how race still trumps poverty when it comes to air pollution in “Money doesn’t matter: White people breathe cleaner air.
  • We presented these new indicators alongside the EPA’s EJSCREEN mapping tool on a webinar co-sponsored by the EPA and the APA titled “New Data Tools for Supporting Analysis of Equitable Development and Environmental Justice.” Watch it here.


White House Opportunity Project 

We added these new environmental indicators as a part of the White House Opportunity Project effort to “build digital tools that help families, community leaders, local officials, and the media to access what they need to thrive” based on open data provided by federal and local governments. Check out the other tools or read Tanvi Misra’s overview for CityLab.


Next Up: Disaggregating the Asian, Latino, and Black Populations

Now that those indicators are out, we’ve begun diving back into the data to work out our method for providing more detailed subgroup data for demographic and selected socioeconomic indicators. Stay tuned for a launch schedule.

Thank you for being a part of the movement to use data to build an equitable economy! Please take a moment to tell us how you are using Atlas data.

The National Equity Atlas team at PolicyLink and PERE