Apr 18, 2024 - News

Dallas-Fort Worth's child opportunity gap

Data: Brandeis University; Map: Jared Whalen and Alice Feng/Axios

Dallas-Fort Worth has one of the widest child opportunity gaps in the country, meaning children in some neighborhoods are less likely to graduate high school than their peers living just a couple miles away.

Why it matters: Children who grow up in high opportunity neighborhoods tend to be healthier, have higher incomes in adulthood and even typically live longer, per the Child Opportunity Index 3.0.

The big picture: The index measures social and environmental factors such as school quality, parent employment levels, neighborhood income, park access and air pollution.

  • High opportunity neighborhoods nationwide tend to be segregated, with 67% of white and Asian children living there.
  • The majority of Black (61%) and Hispanic (58%) kids tend to live in low opportunity neighborhoods, per the report by datadiversitykids.org at Brandeis University.

State of play: Racist housing policies, redlining and segregation have historically kept people of color confined to often low-income neighborhoods without the opportunity to move out.

Zoom in: Suburban neighborhoods, like in Flower Mound, Frisco and McKinney, have very high opportunity zones compared to southern Dallas neighborhoods and parts of north and east Fort Worth.

  • Dallas-Fort Worth got an 85 opportunity gap score, among the 10 worst in the country, highlighting how segregated the metro's cities are.
  • The lowest opportunity gap score was 32 in Provo, Utah.

The lowest: One Fort Worth neighborhood was given a Child Opportunity score of 4, one of the lowest in the metro area. The area near I-35W and Allen Avenue is predominantly Hispanic with low income levels.

  • Just a few miles away on the west side of I-35W, a predominantly white, high-income neighborhood was given a Child Opportunity score of 64.

The highest: A Dallas neighborhood west of U.S. 75 and north of Royal Lane was given a Child Opportunity Score of 96, among the highest in the metro. It's a predominantly white area with very high-income levels.

  • Meanwhile, the Vickery Meadow neighborhood just a couple miles away on the east side of the highway scored a 5. It's mostly Black/Hispanic and low income.

The bottom line: "The differences in neighborhood opportunity are so profound that it is as if children in the United States are growing up not in one country, but in five different nations," the report says.

  • Look up your neighborhood here.

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