Racial and Ethnic Equity
Race is a human invention. Our arbitrary divisions among people, historical practices, and social attitudes have given rise to structures that systematically deprive children, families, and communities of opportunity and overburden them with poor health. It is our collective responsibility to remove these barriers through evidence-based policies, programs, and decision-making.
Systems and Outcomes
Data provide the foundation for addressing persistent racial and ethnic disparities. KidsData tracks and analyzes health and well-being trends related to systems and outcomes. System measures, such as school climate, point to the drivers of inequity and the paths to policy and programmatic change . Outcome measures, such as childhood cancer survival, illustrate the magnitude of health disparities and identify the populations most severely impacted.
Follow the links below to find the latest data and evidence-based policy solutions to help reduce or eliminate gaps.
Selected System Measures
The effects of poverty on children's health begin before birth, as low-income parents are more likely to experience malnutrition and stress during pregnancy and are less likely to receive adequate prenatal care. Children who face early economic hardship or deep and prolonged poverty are at increased risk for adverse cognitive, socio-emotional, and physical health outcomes lasting into adulthood. In California, rates of poverty tend to be highest among African American/Black and Hispanic/Latino children.
What actions can help address child poverty? Reduce administrative barriers to participation in safety net programs, maintain and extend family eligibility for tax credits, regardless of employment or documentation status, and ensure access to affordable, high-quality child care and parental work supports. Read more.
High-quality health care before, during, and after pregnancy promotes the long-term health of both parent and child. In particular, receipt of prenatal care in the first trimester of pregnancy is critical, as it lowers the risk of adverse birth outcomes. Inequities in access to prenatal care by race and ethnicity have persisted for decades, with the greatest burden of poor maternal and infant outcomes experienced by African American/Black and American Indian/Alaska Native families.
What are some ways to improve timely access to quality prenatal care? Recruit health care professionals from diverse communities, address practitioner bias, and promote evidence-based prenatal care programs and initiatives, such as group care models and mental health service integration. Read more.
Affordable housing, adequate household resources, and access to quality opportunities influence life outcomes at all ages. Access to high-speed internet at home is increasingly critical for education, employment, health care, social connections, and other important needs and services. Statewide and nationally, Hispanic/Latino, African American/Black, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Alaska Native children are less likely to live in households with a broadband-connected device compared with children in other groups.
How can we better ensure that high-speed internet is accessible and affordable for all households? Support and expand public-private initiatives like the California Bridging the Digital Divide Fund, and promote federal solutions such as congressional action to improve the LifeLine Program. Read more.
Suspensions and Expulsions
Students who are suspended or expelled from school are more likely than their peers to have academic problems, drop out, and enter the juvenile justice system, which can have lifelong effects on employment and earning potential. Disciplinary removal from school generally does not result in safer schools or better student behavior, and it disproportionately affects children of color, particularly African American/Black and American Indian/Alaska Native students.
What can be done to keep students in school and provide them with the support they need to succeed? Improve school climate, adopt culturally sensitive and prevention-oriented discipline policies, and implement non-punitive, restorative interventions that are clear, fair, and consistent. Read more.
Selected Outcome Measures
Infants born with low birthweight face increased risks for wide-ranging health complications and long-term disabilities, including but not limited to developmental delays, heart disease, and problems with vision, breathing, and hearing. Decades of research have shown large inequities in birth outcomes by race/ethnicity, even after controlling for income, with rates of low birthweight, preterm birth, and infant mortality consistently higher for African American/Black populations than for other groups.
What actions can contribute to reducing risk factors for preterm and low-birthweight deliveries? Advance efforts to incorporate pre-conception care into routine health care, sustain funding for screening and treatment of patients at risk for preterm birth, and maintain and expand evidence-based social support programs for expectant parents, including home-visiting services. Read more.
Students proficient in reading are more likely to graduate from high school, go to college, and have better employment and income prospects in adulthood than students with limited reading abilities, who often struggle to keep up across multiple subjects, including math and science. Higher percentages of Asian, Filipino, white, and multiracial students in California meet grade-level standards in English language arts than do their African American/Black, American Indian/Alaska Native, Hispanic/Latino, and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander peers.
How can we increase reading proficiency and lay the foundation for achievement in school, work, and life? Expand high-quality preschool and kindergarten-readiness programs, ensure that recent K-12 reforms are implemented effectively at the local level, and improve student access to qualified teachers and rigorous, relevant instructional materials. Read more.
High School Graduation
Graduating from high school is associated with a range of positive life outcomes, from better employment and income prospects to better health and life expectancy. Although California's graduation rate is on the rise and gaps by race/ethnicity have narrowed in recent years, rates still are lowest for African American/Black, American Indian/Alaska Native, Hispanic/Latino, and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander students.
What are some of the ways we can drive improvements in graduation rates? Advance policies and practices focused on early identification of students who are struggling, provide tailored support and engagement with high-quality post-secondary education and workforce opportunities, and promote evidence-based strategies to foster student, family, school, and community strengths. Read more.
For many years, African American/Black and American Indian/Alaska Native young people have had the highest death rates among groups for whom data are collected, statewide and nationally. High youth death rates are related to problems that go beyond the individual, such as community violence and barriers to health care. Most child and young adult deaths are due to preventable causes, which can be addressed through public policies aimed at prevention, education, and supporting young people and their families.
What steps can we take to ensure more young people live longer? Strengthen motor vehicle and firearm safety measures; reduce violence, substance use, and other risky behaviors through improved connectedness to family and school; and ensure all families have access to timely, comprehensive, continuous, patient centered, and culturally appropriate medical care and mental health services. Read more.
Go deeper on other issues with recent analysis.
Indicators Broken Down by Race/Ethnicity
System Indicators by Race/Ethnicity
Outcome Indicators by Race/Ethnicity
- Children's Emotional Health
Additional Indicators by Race/Ethnicity
 For more on systems measures, see: StriveTogether. (2021). A guide to racial and ethnic equity systems indicators. Retrieved from: https://www.strivetogether.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/A-guide-to-racial-and-ethnic-equity-systems-indicators.pdf
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