Child Well-Being Methodology

Develop the framework, tools and partnerships to measure child well-being across Greater Atlanta. Help identify high-needs neighborhoods across the 13 counties that United Way serves, to invest our resources and efforts for maximum impact.

  • Data backed research – Using a set of indicators that was diligently selected, the child well-being index is calculated using the dimensions of children, families, and communities.
  • Census Tract Level – After much research and deliberation, the index has been drilled down to the neighborhood level for maximum impact. In the 13 counties served by United Way of Greater Atlanta there are a total of 776 census tracts.
  • Engage – Engage multiple organizations and community leaders around a shared method for measuring child well-being that aligns with a common agenda and a shared target for improving child well-being.
  • Act – use the community dashboard as a mechanism for United Way, our partners and others in the community to demonstrate their contributions and alignment toward improving conditions embedded in the index.

Below is the current list of indicators used in the Child Well-Being Index, by sub-domains.

Child Measures:

  • High School College & Career Readiness Performance Index (CCRPI) Score
  • High School Graduation Rate
  • % Exceeding 3rd Grade Reading
  • % Exceeding 8th Grade Mathematics
  • % Low Birth Weight Births
  • % Under 18, with no Health Insurance
  • % Under 18 in Poverty

Family Measures:

  • % Families Not Financially Stable
  • % Families with Housing Cost Burden
  • % Births to Moms Without a High School Diploma

Community Measures:

  • % Enrolled in Post-Secondary Education
  • % Adults Without a High School Diploma
  • % Adults Without Health Insurance
  • Unemployment Rate
  • To best identify the high need areas in the 13 county region, the CWB Index and the sub-indices were calculated at the census tract level.
  • At this level of geography, observations are missing for some census tracts on some of the indicators. Missing observations were replaced by imputed values generated by the Multiple Imputations procedure using 20 imputations (for a 99.2 % relative efficiency).  This completed dataset was used in all calculations.
  • To facilitate comparison across indicators, all indicator values were standardized to z-scores* using the mean and standard deviation across all 776 census tracts.
    * zi = (xi-mean)/std deviation, where  xi =indicator value for tract i  |  (Range  of z-scores was -3 to +3).
  • z scores were further transformed so that the magnitude of each z-score is consistent with higher z-values indicating higher levels of opportunity based on that component. For example, for poverty, a high value reflects lower neighborhood opportunity. The z-scores for poverty were multiplied by (-1), so higher poverty rates translated to lower z-scores.
  • If a z-score was outside the -3 to +3 range, it was deemed an outlier. Outlier z-scores were capped at ±3.1
  • CWB index score (and sub-domain index scores) were calculated for each Census Tract in the following manner:
    * Child sub-Index Score=(Sum of z-scores for each of the seven indicators listed above under Child)/7
    * Family sub-Index Score=(Sum of z-scores for each of the three indicators listed above under Family)/3
    * Community sub-Index Score=(Sum of z-scores for each of the four indicators listed above under Community)/4
    * Overall Child Well-Being Index Score=(Child sub-index score + Family sub-index score + Community sub-index score)/3
  • Quintile distributions of each of the indices were calculated. They were designated as Very Low, Low, Average, High and Very High. Each census tract was given one of these ranking for the overall Index (and for each sub-index).

County

Total # of Census Tracts

Very Low

Low

Average

High

Very High

Butts

3

1

2

Cherokee

26

2

4 13 7

Clayton

49

24

21

4

Cobb

120

11

24

23 27 35

Coweta

20

1 7 6 6

DeKalb

144

43

40 21 21 19

Douglas

20

6 9 4 1

Fayette

20

1 7 12

Fulton

202

68

27 27 28 52

Gwinnett

113

10

23 27 34 19

Henry

25

5 11 7 2

Paulding

19

10 7 2

Rockdale

15

5 9 1

Traffic Light (Green, Yellow, Red) designations were given to census tracts based on their scores. High needs areas were indicated by a “Red” color. A tract that had an average score was given the color “Yellow” indicating it was performing at an average level and needed to improve. A census tract with a high score was given a “Green” color indicating it was on the right track. These designations were based on the overall performance of the 776 census tracts on each indicator and on all indices.