Equity Metrics

The Othering & Belonging Institute’s Equity Metrics program develops research-based metrics to enhance our understanding of group-based marginality and structures of opportunity. 

The goals of this program are:

  • To examine racial/social inequities through data-driven research using available data sources, data analysis methods and GIS technologies

  • To develop diagnostic tools and metrics to identify and measure socio-economic outcomes that reflect marginality and exclusion

  • To provide policy recommendations for combating structural, and institutional barriers to opportunity and social inclusion

Drawing from empirical research, data, and information, the Equity Metrics program presents analytics of social, environmental, and economic conditions in the built environment as they relate to inequity and social justice. Equity Metrics program works on the premise that inequity has a spatial footprint. Thus, measuring the spatial distribution of marginality and opportunity could help provide solutions to reducing, even eliminating, these social inequities through policy and advocacy.

COVID-19 Mapping Project: Considering the urgency and immediacy of COVID-19 pandemic, the Equity Metrics team is currently working on a data-driven response to this pandemic highlighting the uneven impact of racial, economic and health outcomes. As part of the effort to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable and impacted groups during the ongoing and rapidly developing coronavirus pandemic we've developed an interactive webmap and series of static maps that identify regions throughout California that may be in most need of resources and support. The maps serve as tools to assist aid organizations and nonprofits working on the ground to reach particular groups, government agencies working on plans to allocate resources, health organizations, and the media.

This program has four overarching projects:

Opportunity Mapping Project:

The Opportunity Mapping project, also known as the “geography of opportunity,” measures the distribution of opportunity across space. The opportunity mapping project illuminates the ways in which structures and institutions promote or restrict civil rights, resources, and access based on how and where individuals are situated in society. This comprehensive approach offers policymakers, stakeholders, and researchers a strong visual, and quantifiable measure of opportunity to direct public and private investments.

Fair Housing Research Initiative:

The Equity Metrics division and California Community Partnerships division jointly engage in Fair Housing research and advocacy, which broadly seeks to promote access to opportunity for people of color and other groups who historically had limited access to housing in amenity-rich neighborhoods. Our Fair Housing work involves both identifying “neighborhoods of opportunity” using spatial analyses, and providing supporting research for governmental agencies in their duty to “affirmatively further fair housing,” as required by the 1968 Fair Housing Act.

Inclusiveness Index:

A joint project between the Equity Metrics and Global Justice programs, the Inclusiveness Index is a diagnostic tool to measure the degree of marginalization experienced by different groups across different societal settings and social cleavages, such as LGBT, race/ethnicity, and religion, and other forms of marginality and stratification. The goal of the Inclusiveness Index initiative is to identify policies, interventions and other levers that have proven effective at ameliorating marginality and promoting inclusivity and equity. This diagnostic instrument helps to achieve that goal by illustrating how U.S. states and other nation-states fare relative to each other in terms of inclusivity and marginality.

Equity Indices Research Project:

The Equity Indices 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. This project develops qualitative literature review of and includes a database for storing information on social equity indices projects that are developed by public, private and research organizations. The intention is to understand and critique existing process or systems of thought behind these indices projects, and assess how these projects push the envelope of social inclusion, economic well-being, and belongingness.