Scoring

The Equality Indicators have two main types of scores: static scores, which are the scores for any given year, and change scores, which measure change from the baseline year. Static scores range from 1 to 100, with one representing the most inequality (the worst score) and 100 representing the least inequality (the best score). Change scores can be positive, negative, or zero (indicating no change from the baseline year). For each type of score, there are indicator-level scores, topic-level scores, theme-level scores, and an overall score for the city.

Static Scores

Indicator scores are generally created by calculating the ratio between the outcomes for the most and least disadvantaged groups; the higher the ratio, the larger the disparity. There are predetermined scores that correspond to each ratio (see the ratio-to-score conversion table here). For example, an indicator might measure the disparity in arrest rates for black and white residents. If the ratio is 2, that means that black residents are twice as likely to be arrested as white residents, which corresponds to a score of 40. If the ratio is 5, that means that black residents are five times as likely to be arrested as white residents, which corresponds to a score of 20. Some indicators may be represented by a citywide percentage, in which case the score corresponds with the actual percentage. For example, if 40% of public transit stations are accessible to individuals with physical disabilities, this percentage corresponds to a score of 40. If the citywide percentage was expressed as a negative outcome (e.g., 40% of public transit stations are not accessible to individuals with physical disabilities), this percentage is subtracted from 100% and corresponds to a score of 60.

Topic scores are the average of the indicator scores contained within the topic, theme scores are the average of the topic scores contained within the theme, and the citywide score is the average of all of the theme scores.

Change Scores

Change scores at each level are created by subtracting the baseline year’s score from the current year’s score. That means that positive scores mean that the disparities are getting smaller (i.e., progress is being made), negative scores mean that the disparities are getting larger (i.e., things are getting worse), and a score of 0 means that things have stayed the same.

Interpreting scores

Scores are based on disparities only; by themselves, they do not allow you to determine outcomes for individual groups or whether overall progress or regress across groups has occurred. Looking at the underlying data is necessary in order to interpret scores.

Static Scores

A high static score means that the disparity between the most and least disadvantaged groups is large. In the most straightforward case, this means that things are a lot worse for the most disadvantaged group than for the least disadvantaged group; but we note that both groups may be faring well overall.

A low static score means that the disparity between the most and least disadvantaged groups is small. In the most straightforward case, this means that things are relatively equal for the two groups; but we note that both groups may be doing equally poorly.

Change Scores

A positive change score means that the disparity between the most and least disadvantaged groups is getting smaller. In the most straightforward case, this means that things are getting better for the most disadvantaged group more than they are for the least disadvantaged group (for which things may be the same); but we note that it can also mean that things are getting worse for the least disadvantaged group more than they are for the most disadvantaged group (for which things may be the same).

A negative change score means that the disparity between the most and least disadvantaged groups is getting larger. In the most straightforward case, this means that things are getting worse for the most disadvantaged group more than they are for the least disadvantaged group (for which things may be the same); but we note that it can also mean that things are getting better for the least disadvantaged group more than they are for the most disadvantaged group (for which things may be the same).

A zero change score means that either outcomes for both the most and least disadvantaged groups are the same as in the baseline year or that there have been equivalent changes for both groups.

What this means is that even if things improve for the most disadvantaged group, the score may not change if an equivalent change also occurred for those least disadvantaged; the score may even decrease if a larger positive change occurred for the least disadvantaged group than for the most disadvantaged group (since that will mean the disparity increased). Conversely, even if things get worse for the most disadvantaged group, the score may not change if an equivalent change also occurred for those least disadvantaged. In terms of the size of change scores, we would caution against making too much of small changes on individual indicators, especially since more advanced statistical testing would be necessary to see whether changes are significant. Additionally, if the sample size for an indicator is small, large fluctuations from year to year may be seen, which should even out over time.