What does disadvantage look like in America? And where are the nation’s most disadvantaged communities? With funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a team of researchers from the University of Michigan and Princeton University explored this question and developed an Index of Deep Disadvantage to identify and better understand America’s most disadvantaged communities.
Index of Deep Disadvantage
To understand disadvantage across the U.S., researchers developed an Index of Deep Disadvantage using the same data for both counties and cities, which allows for direct comparison. This index represents a holistic look at disadvantage, using health indicators (life expectancy, low infant birth weight), poverty metrics (rates of poverty and deep poverty), and social mobility data (Opportunity Insights Mobility Metrics).
This measure of disadvantage is complemented by local perspectives that provide a deeper understanding of America’s most vulnerable communities. By painting a vivid portrait of the conditions in the nation’s most disadvantaged communities, the index not only uncovers what factors drive disparities, but it can help pinpoint where policymakers, state and local leaders, and residents can take action to improve health, well-being, and opportunity for all.