Opportunity Nation seeks to advance the field of opportunity and economic mobility research though the annual release of the Opportunity Index and in-depth analyses on issues such as youth unemployment, disconnected youth and civic engagement.

Our research efforts help build on the groundbreaking frame provided by the Opportunity Index and include new data and innovative solutions from across the nation. Unequal access to opportunity across our communities is a challenge created by a range of interconnected factors – there is no one, simple cause. As a result, our response as engaged citizens can be most effective when it includes smart actions driven by data.

The research and reports below are focused on the broad goal of expanding opportunity with actionable recommendations for all individuals and organizations to take part.

Explore the data below, understand what it means to “expand opportunity,” and be inspired by the examples of what’s working. Together we can close the opportunity gap in America.



The Opportunity Index

The Opportunity Index is an annual composite measure at the state and county levels of economic, educational and civic factors that foster opportunity and is designed to help identify concrete solutions to lagging conditions for opportunity and economic mobility. Explore the Interactive Data




Historical Report of Opportunity

The Historical Report of Opportunity explores the economic, educational and civic factors that impacted opportunity in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s for all 50 states and Washington, DC



Civic Engagement Report Thumbnail

The Power of Civic Engagement

This report, presented in conjunction with Measure of America, examines the relationship between civic engagement and economic opportunity in the United States, particularly for young adults.



MOA Report ScreenshotZeroing in on Place and Race

Measure of America’s Zeroing In on Place and Race: Youth Disconnection in America’s Cities provides important new data on race, location and youth disconnection in 98 of America’s largest metro areas and the country’s congressional districts. This research was supported by Opportunity Nation and Gap, Inc.


Retail ReportRetail’s Opportunity

The centerpiece of this report, “Retail’s Opportunity: Exploring the Industry’s Impact on People and Places”, is an analysis of correlations between the retail industry and the Opportunity Index — Opportunity Nation’s annual composite measure at the state and county levels of economic, educational, and civic factors that expand opportunity. 

Metro-Level Opportunity Index

The Metro Level Opportunity Index measures opportunity at the local level and provides comparative, useful data across multiple cities. Supported by The Kresge Foundation’s Human Services program and American Cities Practice, and guided by Child Trends, 13 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) were chosen for this pilot Index. Mirroring the annual Opportunity Index, the Metro-Level Index provides 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.
Offering 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 can identify where improvements can be made. We 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. Download the report.


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