Frequently Asked Questions

Addressing common questions about the Equity Indicators project

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What does the Equity Score mean?

The overall Equity Score, as well as the scores for each Theme, Topic, and Indicator, quantifies the state of racial equity in St. Louis City today, and enables us to measure progress over time. Each indicator uses data disaggregated by race to present outcomes for black and white residents. The racial disparity between the outcomes for the two groups is calculated as a ratio. That ratio is converted to a score on a scale of 1 to 100, with 100 representing racial equity, using a ratio-to-score conversion table developed by CUNY ISLG. Future iterations of this report will show changes in Equity Scores and discuss recent efforts to increase racial equity.

What do the Equity Indicators measure?

The Equity Indicators project measures racial equity across 72 indicators, each chosen to illuminate the current state of inequity in the Ferguson Commission’s priority areas: Youth at the Center, Opportunity to Thrive, and Justice for All. Each theme contains three narrower topics, and each topic contains 8 indicators. Including the same number of indicators in each topic allows us to weight all indicators equally. (Please see the reverse side to view all topics and indicators.)

What is the Equity Indicators Project?

The Equality Indicators project began as an initiative of the City University of New York’s Institute for State and Local Governance (CUNY ISLG), with the goal of measuring inequality and tracking change over time. CUNY ISLG developed a methodology for the Equality Indicators and piloted the tool in New York City, releasing the first NYC annual report in 2015.

In 2017, with continued funding from the Rockefeller Foundation, and in partnership with 100 Resilient Cities, CUNY ISLG expanded the project to five cities across the United States. St. Louis was selected as one of the five cities to receive support in adapting the CUNY ISLG methodology and developing its own tool. The City of St. Louis calls our project the Equity Indicators (instead of Equality Indicators) to better align with the Ferguson Commission report, Forward Through Ferguson: A Path Toward Racial Equity. The Equity Indicators Project is a direct response to the Ferguson Commission’s call to action for a racial-equity benchmarking process.

Why do the scores focus only on black/white disparities?

The Equity Indicators tool measures disparities between black and white residents. Black residents make up 47.8% of the population of St. Louis City, and white residents make up 42.7%. There are much smaller percentages of Asian residents (3.0%), Hispanic residents (3.9%), and residents from other racial and ethnic groups (2.6%). Thus, the scores focus on black/white disparities, consistent with the framing of the Ferguson Commission report. However, some indicators do include data on Asian, Hispanic, and other-race residents when available, and this report is presented with an understanding that true equity for St. Louis City means equity for all residents, not just black and white residents.

Who is behind the Equity Indicators Project?

The Equity Indicators Project is a regional collaboration between the City of St. Louis, Forward Through Ferguson, and The United Way of Greater St. Louis. The project is funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and 100 Resilient Cities. The City University of New York’s Institute for State and Local Governance (CUNY ISLG) developed the original methodology for creating and implementing Equality Indicator tools, and provided support and guidance for this project.

Who is the audience for this report?

Elected officials, policymakers, community leaders, and every resident of St. Louis can use the Equity Indicators project to understand our complex regional equity challenges, monitor changes over time, and hold our leaders and institutions accountable.

See Also

About the Equity Indicators
An overview of the City of St. Louis equity indicators project

A short history of how racism became institutionalized in St. Louis

How we identified priorities, collected data, and calculated scores

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