Metro Level Opportunity Index Pilot Project Announced

Over the past five years, the Opportunity Index, jointly developed by Measure of America and Opportunity Nation, has measured opportunity across states and counties. It was created for national, state, and local actors to measure progress and bring cross sector groups into a conversation about opportunity in their community. For example, budget and policy centers have used the Opportunity Index to identify strategies for increasing economic mobility across the state, and cities have used the Index as a convening tool to bring together a diverse group of government, business, education and community leaders to explore collaboration to increase economic mobility.

In 2018, we will release a pilot Metro Level Opportunity Index to spotlight the following 13 metropolitan statistical areas (MSA):

  •      Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD
  •      Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA
  •      Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL, IN, WI
  •      Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX
  •      Des Moines, IA
  •      Detroit-Warren-Dearborn MI
  •      Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA
  •      Memphis, TN, MS, AR
  •      New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, LA
  •      New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY, NJ
  •      Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ
  •      Seattle, WA
  •      Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC, VA, MD, WV

This Metro Level Opportunity Index will measure opportunity at the local level that’s easy to use and will provide comparative, useful data across multiple cities. Supported by The Kresge Foundation’s Human Services program and American Cities Practice, this pilot research will also provide a way to compare smaller cities’ progress with data that is specific to a metropolitan city and surrounding communities that may be similar in population size along many of the same indicators in the current Opportunity Index.

We hope that more localized data will provide mayors, city council leaders, and human services organizations — among others — a way to build data into community plans and can help assess which programs, policies, and initiatives are working to expand opportunity (or accelerate social and economic mobility), and where improvements can be made. We also hope cities can use this data to ramp up effective programs and to implement smart policies that benefit low- and moderate-income Americans, or identify which communities might be in need of specific services.

We look forward to sharing this pilot Index in 2018. We believe that all sectors can benefit by having metro-specific information that supports building out cross-sector efforts to provide equitable access to economic mobility.


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