Tackling the Opportunity Gap in Baltimore and San Francisco

UPDATE: Baltimore has won the Super Bowl – do they win on the Opportunity Index? Read more below.

This Sunday over 100 million Americans will watch the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers settle the score, but in these football teams’ respective cities, a different kind of score is worth our attention – their Opportunity Index Scores.

The teams share many similarities, including a sibling rivalry taking the spotlight, but Baltimore City, MD and San Francisco, CA are quite different when it comes to economic, educational and community opportunity. Taking a deeper look at the game being played on the streets of these two bay cities reveals the stakes are much higher than who makes that winning touchdown.

On the county level, Baltimore ranks behind San Francisco in all 16 indicators which make up the city’s scores, but at the state level Maryland jumps ahead with an opportunity score of 56.7 to California’s 47.6.

What this highlights is that access to resources for social mobility like high quality education and job training programs can vary just as greatly within a state as it can across the nation.

Individuals living in Baltimore City are up against a very different set of challenges than those living beyond the city limits in the greater Baltimore County. The unacceptable reality that a person’s zip code at birth will determine their path in life is demonstrated by the stark difference between both Baltimore City and the surrounding area, but even further by Baltimore and San Francisco’s education scores. While 76% of San Francisco’s high schoolers graduate on time, only 60% of Baltimore’s high school students graduate on time;  however, there is still an obvious need for improvement in both counties.

When kickoff comes on Sunday, millions will be rooting for their favorite team to bring their community a year’s worth of bragging rights as the champion of Super Bowl XLVII. When it comes to reaching the American dream, it’s a game where if everyone doesn’t have the same chances or faces barriers to playing, then no one wins. There are no bragging rights in winning if the game isn’t fair. Opportunity Nation’s coalition is working to level the playing field – what can you do to make sure every American has a shot?

« Back to Blog

Stay Informed