Description: The Child Opportunity Index is a composite measure of neighborhood-based opportunities, at the census tract level, that influence children’s health and development. The index includes measures in three domains of neighborhood opportunity: educational opportunities (e.g., quality early childhood education), health and environmental opportunities (e.g., availability of healthy food), and social and economic opportunities (e.g., low poverty). The index overlaid geographically identifies key areas for both the county and partner stakeholders to target efforts to expand opportunities.
Performance Measure(s): Percent of Census Tracts in Fairfax County that have a Child Opportunity Index Rated as High or Very High – measures the relative opportunity across a metropolitan area calculated based on indicators of educational opportunity, health and environmental opportunity, and social and economic opportunity. For more details about the diversitydatakids.org – Kirwan Institute Child Opportunity Index.
Interpretation: Approximately 74% of Fairfax County census tracts have a Child Opportunity Index rated as “high” or “very high.” While the Child Opportunity Index may be higher in Fairfax County relative to the Washington Metro Area (DC-VA-MD-WV), it is important to note the prevalence of significant disparities across communities within Fairfax County. The southeastern portion of the county has the lowest Child Opportunity Index, including the communities of Lorton, Newington, Mt. Vernon and Springfield (PolicyLink, 2015).
In addition to influencing economic growth, the COI is a component of a much larger community effort targeting equitable growth in Fairfax County. Equitable growth provides a path to a sustainable economic environment and creates avenues to good jobs, connecting younger generations with older ones, integrating immigrants into the economy, building communities of opportunity, and ensuring education and career pathways for all youths (PolicyLink, 2015)Learn more about equitable growth in Fairfax County.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau: Decennial Census 2010, American Community Survey 2007-2011, Zip Business Patterns 2009; State Department of Education 2010-2011; National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data 2010-2011; diversitydatakids.org Early Childhood Database (State Early Childhood Care and Education Licensing Database 2012 and 2013, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data 2009-2010, National Association for the Education of Young Children Accredited Program Database, 2012 and 2013); ESRI Business Analyst 2011; Department of Housing and Urban Development, Neighborhood Stabilization Program 2010; Environmental Protection Agency, Toxic Release Inventory Program 2010.