Equity Indices Research

The Othering & Belonging Institute’s Equity Indices Research was initiated in 2013 with the release of the Seeking Belongingness – Examining Equity, Capability, and Opportunity through Existing Index Schemes report. In this report, author Erik Lampmann, an Othering & BelongingInstitute Summer 2013 Research Fellow, highlights that our existing metrics (i.e. the Gross Domestic Product) are inadequate and do not address the concerns around equity. These metrics also do not provide a holistic picture of the actual livelihoods of the most marginalized groups and communities.

This research project aims to better understand how institutions conceptualize and operationalize a myriad of social progress metrics on equity, human development, well-being, and social inclusion. The Equity Metrics program has developed a series of research memos and a database of 35+ multi-factor social equity indices projects that are developed by public, private, and research organizations. These multi-factor indices and their exhaustive list of indicators are proxies for health, education, political engagement, transportation, material wealth and other pressing concerns affecting opportunity, capability, and access. Some of the social equity indices projects that we analyzed are:

  • UN Human Development Index

  • Policy Link's National Equity Atlas

  • Social Wealth Economic Indicators

  • Opportunity Nation's Opportunity Index

  • Multidimensional Poverty Index

  • Environmental Performance Index 2014

  • Equity, Opportunity, and Sustainability in the Central Puget Sound Region: Geography of Opportunity in the Central Puget Sound Region

The intention is to understand and critique existing processes or systems of thought behind these indices projects, and assess how these projects push the envelope of social inclusion, economic well-being, and belongingness.