Controller Galperin Releases ‘L.A. Equity Index,’ Shows Opportunity Divide Impacts Communities of Color
LOS ANGELES — L.A. Controller Ron Galperin today released “A Great Divide: L.A. Equity Index,” accessible at lacontroller.org/equityindex, an interactive online tool measuring structural disparities and barriers to opportunity within the City. Through a series of maps, the L.A. Equity Index allows Angelenos to explore how a number of socioeconomic factors — including housing costs, educational achievement, environmental challenges and access to resources, like health insurance, food and high-speed internet — impact people’s lives and livelihoods in each neighborhood, and shows that some neighborhoods are impacted far more severely than others.
“Los Angeles is home to four million residents living in more than 100 different neighborhoods,” said Controller Galperin. “It is incredibly geographically, demographically and economically diverse, but there is a great equity divide. Too many neighborhoods face barriers to opportunity that negatively impact the people who live there, many of whom are people of color and immigrant families. The L.A. Equity Index gives policymakers and all Angelenos a more comprehensive understanding of community issues that can drive data-informed decisions to improve neighborhoods and lives. To bridge the divide, Los Angeles needs to do better and invest smarter in the communities that need it most.”
What’s the L.A. Equity Index?
“A Great Divide: L.A. Equity Index” brings together hundreds of data points to evaluate the level of equity in neighborhoods across the City. It was created by examining a series of indicators individually, scoring them, and bringing everything together in a composite index. The indicators examined are rent burden, poverty level, home ownership, air quality, closeness to toxic releases, proximity to traffic and education level; and access to internet, food and health insurance. Dozens of additional variables are also considered, including ethnic makeup and median income, which also inform the final results.
Measuring equity on a scale of 1 to 10
The Equity Index scores each census tract in the City on a scale of 1 to 10. A lower score (darker colors) indicates areas where residents experience less equity and opportunity; a higher score (lighter colors) means an area with more equity and opportunity for Angelenos.
Users can enter their address into the search bar on the Equity Index at the top to find their census tract and learn more about the population and challenges facing the area. Following the Index is a series of maps showing how each equity indicator impacts City neighborhoods.
What does the Index say about L.A.?
Los Angeles is a deeply divided City and many changes are necessary to make it truly equitable. The Index shows which neighborhoods face the most challenges and which enjoy the most opportunities, underscoring that where Angelenos live has a significant impact on the quality of their lives. Living in an area with a lower score on the Equity Index means that it is exponentially harder to achieve the health, economic and educational outcomes than people living in an area that achieves a higher score.
Some facts about equity in L.A. revealed by Galperin’s Index:
- Neighborhoods in South and East L.A. score lowest on the Equity Index. These areas are home to more rent burdened individuals, greater poverty, more environmental concerns and access to fewer resources.
- Neighborhoods in West L.A. and the West San Fernando Valley score highest on the Equity Index. These areas include more homeowners, higher income levels, better air quality and more education achievement, among other things.
- Adults without a high school diploma are twice as likely to live in poverty as those who graduate.
- Predominantly Latino communities are twice as likely to lack health insurance as mostly white communities.
- The average Encino resident earns almost three times as much as the average Boyle Heights resident.
- Nearly 40 percent of local families made under 200% of the federal poverty level in 2018, equivalent to just $50,200 for a family of four.
View the L.A. Equity Index here: lacontroller.org/equityindex.
Bridging the divide
In addition to the Equity Index, L.A. Controller Galperin has long worked to increase equity in the City of Los Angeles. He recently released reports revealing gender inequity in the City’s workforce, recommending ways to help disadvantaged businesses earn City contracts, pushing for greater equity in youth programming, and more. Galperin’s innovative online tools have highlighted systemic inequities and sought to connect people to resources, including the COVID-19 job losses map; statewide food map; and the comprehensive COVID-19 Resource Hub.