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A new national study from Brandeis University suggests that opportunities for children vary widely across Evanston neighborhoods.

The Child Opportunity Index considers a variety of factors:

  • Availability and quality of neighborhood institutions, for example, early childhood education centers and schools
  • Peer and adult influences that help shape children’s norms and expectations, including high school graduation rate and adults with high-skill jobs
  • Neighborhood social structure and economic resources — neighborhood poverty and employment)
  • Environmental quality — air pollution
  • Resources for healthy living — green space, healthy food outlets, walkability.

Maps presented in the study also indicate that minority children are more likely than white children to live in areas with low opportunity index scores.

The study concludes that neighborhood quality is strongly associated with better life outcomes and that “favorable neighborhood conditions may protect children from the harmful effects of poverty.”

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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3 Comments

  1. Evanston minority children have less opportunitie

    Sometime after i moved to Evanston, the south branch of the Evanston library was closed while the northside library was kept open. This was the most outrageous example of racism on the part of those in power in Evanston.

    The wealthier section of Evanston (Northwest evanston) were to be the recipients of our tax dollars, whereas the poor in south evanston would not. the reaon given, the northwest branch was used more. Of course, educated people with more options, can more easily help their children in using a library. Obvious! Is that a reason to shut down a library that caters more to the disenfranchised in Evanston.

    What minority person in Evanston doesnt know that children of color in Evanston have less opportunities? Also notice how close the Army recruitment station is to the high school.

    People of Evanston, if we want to keep our image of a progressive community, hopefully the study will remind us of the reality of racism here in Evanston. Please, lets take it seriously and do something about it.

    1. Reality check

      Hi Laura,

      You failed to mention that the old south branch library at Chicago Avenue and Lee Street was replaced by the Chicago Avenue Main Street branch a block away.

      You also failed to mention that the new Robert Crown Center, opening this year on the city’s west side, has a 5,000 square foot library branch.

      I’m not suggesting that rich kids in Evanston don’t have advantages compared to poor kids. But it’s wrong to distort the facts in trying to make that case.

      — Bill

  2. free bus?

    Niles, where I work, has a free bus. Transportation is a big barrier to accessing opportunities (let alone Evanston parking fees!)

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