Frequently asked questions

Published: 03.08.2024 Updated: 03.14.2024
What can I find in the Datasets section?

The Datasets section of our site contains over 320 socio-economic and policy indicators capturing a wide range of topics. Many indicators are available for 10+ geographic summary levels, from national data down to the neighborhood-level. Whenever possible, indicators were made available by race and ethnicity. Browse our indicator collection.

What is a Policy Equity Assessment (PEA)?

Policy Equity Assessment (PEA) is a framework that combines policy assessment and rigorous equity methods to both synthesize existing research and identify and conduct new analyses of policies’ ability to reduce racial/ethnic inequities. Learn more about PEAs.

How was the Child Opportunity Index constructed? What data did you use?

The Child Opportunity Index (COI) 3.0 is based on 44 neighborhood indicators that were collected from public and proprietary sources and combined into a composite index. For details on data sources and construction, please refer to our Technical Document.

How is the COI being used?

The COI has been used for community needs assessments, strategic planning, resource allocation, to highlight local inequity in access to opportunity, and for informing place-based and mobility interventions. You can read about some use cases in our library of Impact Stories.

How can I see what child opportunity in my community looks like?

Our interactive map displays the Child Opportunity Index for all U.S. neighborhoods and allows users to see where children of different races/ethnicities live in relation to neighborhood opportunity. The map also allows users to explore 1930s neighborhood “redlining” grades by the Home Owners’ Loan Association (HOLC)  in relation to contemporary neighborhood opportunity. Explore the map.

Can I get COI data for my own work?

Absolutely! We have made data on the index and its components available for download in the Datasets section of our site

What's the difference between the Child Opportunity Score and Child Opportunity Levels?

Child Opportunity Scores measure neighborhood opportunity on a scale from 1 (lowest) to 100 (highest). Child Opportunity Levels assign neighborhoods to five ordered levels of opportunity (very low, low, moderate, high, very high). Visit What is child opportunity? for a more detailed description.

What is the difference between metro-normed, state-normed and nationally-normed COI data?

To construct nationally-normed Child Opportunity Levels and Scores, we rank all neighborhoods in the U.S. from lowest to highest opportunity and then assign scores and levels based on that ranking. We also publish state- and metro-normed opportunity scores and levels, which are based on ranking all neighborhoods within a given state or metropolitan area. Metro-normed (state-normed) Child Opportunity Levels and Scores can only be compared within but not across metro areas (states). Nationally normed metrics can be compared nation-wide. For details, please refer to our Technical Document.

How do I choose between metro-normed, state-normed and nationally-normed COI data?

Users who are interested in exploring neighborhood opportunity within one metro area or state should use the metro-normed or state-normed data respectively. For users who want to make comparisons across metro areas within the same state, we recommend the use of state-normed data. For users who want to draw comparisons across state-boundaries or the entire country, we recommend using nationally-normed data. For details, please refer to our Technical Document.

Should I use COI 3.0 or 2.0?

We recommend that all new users and new projects use COI 3.0.  Compared to COI 2.0, COI 3.0 includes more indicators covering a broader range of neighborhood features and uses an improved methodology. COI 3.0 was published in 2024, and the data are available for download for every year from 2012 through 2021. Learn more about the differences between COI 3.0 and 2.0.

Current users of COI 2.0 who still require 2.0 data to complete an ongoing project can still access 2.0 census tract and ZIP code estimates, as well as our 2.0 Technical Document, 2.0 ZIP code Technical Document and 2020 report The Geography of Child Opportunity

Where can I get COI data for counties, ZIP codes, metro areas, or states?

The COI is a neighborhood-level index, focusing on the residential environments children experience every day. While we generally recommend the use of census tract-level COI estimates whenever possible, we have also published ZIP code level-COI estimates for instances in which data at the census tract level are not available. ZIP code estimates are currently only available for download for COI 2.0; however, ZIP code estimates for COI 3.0 are available for viewing on our interactive map. We invite you to read more about the strengths and weaknesses of using ZIP code data to estimate neighborhood opportunity. If you are looking for COI 3.0 data for geographic summary levels other than 2010 census tracts, please contact us.