The Equality Indicators is a comprehensive tool developed by the CUNY Institute for State and Local Governance (ISLG) that helps cities understand and measure equality or equity in their city. It works across multiple areas (e.g., education, housing, justice) and measures the disparities faced by disadvantaged groups (those most vulnerable to inequality, such as racial and ethnic minorities, immigrants, or individuals living in poverty) across those domains on an annual basis, tracking change over time. Equality Indicators tools can be used as frameworks to support policy development, demonstrating the effectiveness of current policies and initiatives, and highlighting areas where new policies and initiatives may be needed. By making data publicly available, they increase transparency and accountability, allowing the local community an inside view into the disparities in their city and where progress is—and is not—being made.
There are currently six Equality Indicators cities. Click on a city to learn more!
How tools are developed
Development of local tools is both a collaborative and an iterative process consisting of seven primary steps:
- Researching local inequalities, disadvantaged groups, and governmental priorities and areas of focus.
- Based on what has been learned during the research phase, creating a draft framework for the tool.
- Soliciting feedback from a wide range of stakeholders, including government agencies, community members, and research and policy groups.
- Revising the draft framework in accordance with the feedback received.
- Testing the indicators: assessing the availability and quality of annual data, and evaluating the potential value of each indicator once a data source has been identified.
- Revising and soliciting additional feedback as needed.
- Finalizing the tool.
How cities were selected
The Equality Indicators tool was initially piloted in New York City with funding from The Rockefeller Foundation (Rockefeller). Once the tool was up and running in New York City, Rockefeller provided additional funding to develop tools in five new cities, the first cohort of Equality Indicators cities. In the spring of 2017, ISLG released a Request for Interest to select U.S. cities, including those part of Rockefeller’s 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) network. Interested cities were asked to submit an application describing their commitment to furthering equality, what efforts were currently underway, and how an Equality Indicators tool would fit in with those efforts, as well as potential areas of focus and sources of data. ISLG thoroughly reviewed all submitted applications, consulted with Rockefeller and 100RC, and followed up with additional questions as needed. In the end, the decision was made to select five 100RC cities, each looking to build equality or equity into their thinking about the resilience of their cities.
The Rockefeller Foundation provided funding for the development of the Equality Indicators methodology, piloting and implementing the tool in New York City, and developing and implementing local tools in five addition cities.
100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation, is a key partner in developing and implementing tools in the first cohort of Equality Indicators cities: Dallas, Oakland, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and Tulsa.
The City of New York funded community engagement in New York City.
Interested in learning more or developing a local tool?
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