“No Sabo Kid”: What Does it Mean?
Metro areas heavily populated by Latinos seemingly tend to have significant childhood opportunities compared to other parts of the country, a new study revealed Freepik

Metro areas heavily populated by Latinos in the U.S. seemingly tend to have significant fewer childhood opportunities compared to other parts of the country, a new analysis reveals.

Diversitydatakids.org, in partnership with Brandeis University, recently published a study titled "The State of Racial/Ethnic Equity in Children's Neighborhood Opportunity," where they sought to quantify the opportunities afforded to each child based on several factors tied to where they live, including education, health, environment and socioeconomics.

Based on those factors, the report assigned a score of 1-100 to each census tract, with 1 representing the lowest level of childhood opportunity and 100 with the most.

"We find today that the events of the last few years have created an opening to discuss segregation, inequities in neighborhood opportunity and the need for change," the institutions said in the study. "Civil society, social movements, policy context and the actions of other stakeholders such as foundations are helping build an explicit call and movement for racial/ethnic equity."

In the study, cities in Texas and California, two of the states with the largest Latino populations, have the lowest scores in relation to childhood opportunity. McAllen, Texas and Brownsville, Texas received a score of 6 and 9 respectively. Visalia, California, received a score of 13. These are the lowest scores in the entire study.

Around 86% of the population in McAllen is Hispanic, the figure being almost 95% for Brownsville,. These numbers are compared to 54% of Visalia's population who are part of this demographic.

"These inequities... are neither natural nor random," Brandeis professor and report author Dolores Acevedo-Garcia said in a statement. "They're driven by systemic inequities such as high segregation and policies that enable opportunity hoarding."

Authors of the study also emphasize that lower neighborhood opportunity is associated with higher rates and trajectories of school absenteeism. Factors such as school readiness and absenteeism can affect a child's ability to learn and get the most out of their education. Therefore, children living in lower opportunity neighborhoods may be less equipped to succeed academically.

At the same time, schools in neighborhoods with concentrated poverty tend to see fewer opportunities. Schools with high levels of poverty tend to have fewer resources, according to the study. They have fewer qualified teachers and challenging courses, less funding relative to need and higher rates of violence and social disorder. They also have lower educational expectations from teachers and less social and cultural capital.

Conversely, towns with primarily White and Asian children, such as Bridgeport, Connecticut, and Boston, Massachusetts, tend to have the highest rates of opportunity for children (88 and 86 respectively). These schools have higher resources, more qualified teachers and rigorous courses.

But despite these numbers, trends can still be changed. Policy measures that include measures to improve opportunities such as tackling child poverty, rethinking neighborhood zoning rules with equity in mind, and opening access to better schools for children outside their immediate neighborhoods are among the top recommendations by the researchers.

"Whether we're trying to fix up a place or create more opportunities for individuals, it's essential to acknowledge the importance of all these elements— location, individual and family needs, and the distribution of opportunities and challenges throughout a region— and the interweave these approaches," Marjorie Turner, a fellow at the The Urban Institute said.

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