City releases second Pittsburgh Equity Indicators Report
April 23, 2019
The City of Pittsburgh has released the second annual report on the Pittsburgh Equity Indicators: a set of 80 measures that report disparities by race, gender, or income in four domains: Health, Food, and Safety; Education, Workforce Development, and Entrepreneurship; Housing, Transportation, Infrastructure, and Environment; and Civic Engagement and Communications.
The report is a follow-up to a 2017 baseline report. Both reports shed light on problem areas in which Pittsburgh residents of different races, genders, and incomes experience vastly different health, social, and economic outcomes, and access to resources and opportunities. The second rep ort shows the change in equality scores from last year’s baseline.
“This analysis is a start towards untangling the deep roots of inequality that exist in this city. By integrating the Equity Indicators into our work, we are aligning budgets, staff and policies to increase effectiveness and efficiency, and providing a government that better serves the people, planet, place and performance of this great city,” said Mayor William Peduto.
This work is being conducted as a partnership between the Bureau of Neighborhood Empowerment of the Mayor’s Office and the Department of City Planning’s Sustainability and Resilience Division.
Implementing the Equity Indicators methodology is an action identified in the ONEPGH Resilience Strategy released in 2017, which outlined racial and economic inequity and regional fragmentation as chronic stresses impacting the resilience of Pittsburgh. The city is using this analysis to guide budget and policy decisions, and together with The Forbes Funds, is convening partners for collective action to further analyze and address the lowest performing indicators: homicides, homelessness, childhood asthma hospitalizations, infant mortality, and residents without bank accounts.
“The value of our partnership with the city is to provide a framework for addressing the challenges in our sector that are the result of a rapidly changing environment. This partnership allows us to align our work as a capacity-building organization with the city’s resources to achieve stronger community outcomes,” said Fred Brown, president and CEO of The Forbes Funds.
Since the initial report, the city has focused increasing attention and resources towards those areas showing the greatest disparities by race, and partnered with The Forbes Funds to turn statistics into collaborative action items. As a start to implementation, the Mayor’s Office has announced investments of $10 million into the Housing Opportunity Fund, $2 million into funding quality childcare centers, and $500,000 into a new Stop the Violence initiative; the city and Neighborhood Allies recently announced the development of Financial Empowerment Centers; the Division of Sustainability and Resilience released its third Climate Action Plan and is working towards a transition to renewable sources of energy to improve air quality; all current and new Pittsburgh police officers are required to receive implicit bias training; the Bureau of Neighborhood Empowerment will launch a new book-gifting program this summer for Pittsburgh children; and Public Safety now offers free safety training to childcare providers.
The overall 2018 city equality score remains the same as the 2017 city equality score. However, scores for individual indicators show some variability. For example, the disparity between black residents and white residents with a city capital project being planned or implemented in their neighborhood virtually disappeared from 2017 to 2018, resulting in an indicator score of 100. Also of note is a dramatic reduction in homicide victimization rates among black residents, down from 62 per 100,000 in 2017 to 28 in 2018. That said, while the rate dropped dramatically, the disparity between the black and white populations did not, contributing to a low equality score for homicides again in 2018.
Similarly, child asthma hospitalization rates decreased by 35 percent and 30 percent for black and white children respectively between 2015 and 2016, but the disparity score decreased. This analysis is a valuable tool for looking at outcomes over time, focused on the different experiences for disparate groups.
“The Equity Indicators methodology represents a good first step toward identifying areas in which Pittsburghers experience vastly different outcomes based on race or income. The next steps will be to further investigate and act upon structural or systemic factors that may help to explain why some indicators are improving over time, while others are not improving, or even worsening,” said Linnea Warren May, a policy analyst at the RAND Corporation.
The Department of City Planning and Bureau of Neighborhood Empowerment partnered with the RAND Corporation to conduct the analysis described in the report, and received funding and technical support from the CUNY Institute for State and Local Governance and 100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation (100RC) over a two year period. ISLG developed the original Equality Indicators methodology through its pilot tool for New York City, which has measured the city’s progress toward greater equality for the past four years across several domains.
Pittsburgh was one of five cities selected to participate in ISLG’s expansion of the Equality/Equity Indicators initiative, along with Dallas, TX; Oakland, CA; St. Louis, MO; and Tulsa, OK.
“Pittsburgh is a great example of the power of data to drive change,” said Michael Jacobson, executive director of ISLG. “These reports, and the actions taken by the city since the baseline findings were released, show that the city has committed to not only measuring disparities from year to year, but putting in the work to address them. In this way, Pittsburgh can serve as a model for other cities looking to make lasting changes to the inequalities faced by their disadvantaged residents.”
Read the full Pittsburgh Equity Indicators report at equityindicators.pittsburghpa.gov