Brandeis University

Boston is One of the Best Places to Grow Up in America: Report

The Brandeis report ranks Boston in the top ten for child opportunity levels.

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Children in Boston have the some of the highest levels of opportunity in the country, according to a new report out of Brandeis University.

Boston was ranked seventh in child opportunity nationwide with a score of 79. But that was not its only top 10 ranking— Boston has one of the widest opportunity gaps between white and Hispanic children.

In the Boston metro area, 57% of Hispanic children live in very low-opportunity neighborhoods, according to the report.

“The COI is unique because it provides for every U.S. neighborhood a consistent and current metric of whether children have what it takes to grow up healthy,” lead researcher Dr. Dolores Acevedo-Garcia of Brandeis University said in a news release.

While, 47% of Boston children live in very high-opportunity neighborhoods, 11% live in the very low-opportunity neighborhoods that are more like some of the most disadvantaged neighborhoods in the country, according to the report.

“This matters because the index gives us the ability to use contemporary data to identify child opportunity gaps and inform policy change that is needed to create more equitable neighborhood conditions so that all children can thrive,” Acevedo-Garcia added.

Nationwide, the report found that inequities exist not only among metros, but also within them. It also found that low neighborhood opportunity is associated with lower life expectancy and lower economic mobility.

The report's association between neighborhood and life expectancy was paralleled in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “500 Cities” project.

In the U.S., the report said the highest opportunity metro areas are in northern states and the lowest opportunity metros are in southern states.

The Child Opportunity Index quantifies opportunity by examining 29 different conditions, such as proximity to and enrollment in early care and education centers, high school graduation rates, high-skill employment, health insurance coverage, housing vacancy rates and poverty levels as they pertain to children.

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