Community Risk Ranking Illustrates Dramatic Changes in Risks to Child Well-being


December 18, 2018


Today we are releasing the new edition of CCC’s Community Risk Ranking: Measuring Child Well-being in New York City’s 59 Community Districts. The Community Risk Ranking is an internationally recognized index on child well-being which demonstrates the areas of New York City where risks to child well-being are concentrated and can have cumulative negative effects on children’s development and well-being.

 “New York City has experienced noteworthy progress since the economic downturn in 2008, with median incomes rising, greater numbers of children engaged in early education, graduating high school and lower rates of infant mortality, teen births, and violent crime.  Yet, these positive changes are not universally experienced by all children, families, or communities,” said Jennifer March, CCC’s Executive Director.

This year’s analysis calls attention to communities that have experienced the biggest change in their risk ranking, both positive and negative, since 2009. Also, for the first time, the report includes detail on the index score that informs the ranking methodology, as well as the results for all 18 indicators across every community district to provide readers a better understanding of the severity of disparities between communities.

In terms of good news, the Community Risk Ranking illustrates how risks have decreased considerably in some communities in recent years:

  • Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is a community that has decreased in risk overall, going from rank 29 based on data from 2009 to rank 42 in 2016. This community district had positive trends in both the Economic Security and Housing domains, which are reflected in increasing median household income, as well as decreases in child poverty, parental employment instability, and rental overcrowding.
  • The Rockaways, in Queens, went from rank 18 based on data from 2009 to rank 29 in 2016. The community district experienced reduced risks in the Education domain which are reflected in increases in both early childhood education enrollment rates and high school graduation rates.
  • Manhattanville, in Manhattan, went from rank 23 based on data from 2009 to rank 33 in 2016. The community district experienced reduced risks in the Youth domain, reflected in decreases in the teen birth rate, teen idleness, and youth unemployment.

In terms of troubling news, the Community Risk Ranking lays bare how different life can be for children and their families living just blocks or miles apart.

  • The child poverty rate is more than 25 times higher in the highest ranked community district in Economic Security, University Heights in the Bronx, compared to the lowest ranked, the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
  • In Flushing, Queens, economic security has worsened since 2009, with a sharp decrease in median incomes, a near doubling of the child poverty rate, and an increase in parental employment instability. Alternatively, in Fresh Meadows we see signs of progress with lower child poverty, greater parental employment stability, and higher median incomes for families.
  • St George, on Staten Island, experienced an increase in risk level moving from rank 27 based on data from 2009 to rank 19 in 2016. The community district experienced increased risks in the Education domain which are reflected in decreases in the percent of children enrolled in early education and high school graduation rates not keeping pace with progress made citywide.

The data in CCC’s Community Risk Ranking is also available for you to explore for yourself on Keeping Track Online, along with additional indicators related to demographics, conditions, and assets for each of the city’s 59 community districts. All of this information is designed to inform policy, programmatic, and budget decisions, and our collective advocacy to make New York City a better place for children in every community.

“There is no doubt that progress has been made on the state and local level across many critical issue areas that impact child and family well-being including expansion of universal prekindergarten, creation of universal after-school in NYC and free school meals, raising the age of criminal responsibility, moving behavioral health into Medicaid managed care, or recent progress on fair fares. Yet, the disparities illustrated in the Community Risking Ranking dramatically underscore how government must go farther to achieve lasting improvements. As we tackle the challenges faced by New York families, we have an obligation to engage them in problem identification and solution seeking on every level. Their voices should inform decision making on affordable housing, public land use, job creation, as well as the built environment and service in communities,” said March.

Based on findings from this year’s risk ranking, CCC believe opportunities for policy improvements exist across all domains of child and family well-being and that New York State and New York City leaders should consider the following recommendations:

  • Economic Security: Deepen the city and state earned income tax credits; prioritize job creation and workforce development to help households with limited education improve skills, education and preparedness for emerging sectors; invest in affordable transportation alternatives for hard to reach communities.
  • Housing: Establish a shared city-state partnership supporting rent subsidies; invest in neighborhood-based service coordination to connect families at risk of homelessness and formerly homeless to a robust array of needed supports that break down social isolation and improve child well-being; increase affordable housing set-asides for homeless families.
  • Health: Expand access to community-based health and mental health services that are strength based, family focused and can be offered in non-stigmatizing settings; leverage school-based health and mental health resources to bridge to new family-focused treatment models; and support consumer assistance programs such as community health navigators.
  • Education: Expand access to infant toddler care and universal prekindergarten and ensure that salary parity is an integral part of the early education system; promote equitably resourced schools with diverse student bodies; and prioritize support for and enrollment in college savings platforms for all students.
  • Youth: Provide universal after-school for every elementary and middle school student with a summer component; expand access to year-round employment opportunities and summer youth employment for high school students; and prioritize investments in prevention and diversion programs for court involved youth.
  • Family and Community: Leverage discussions on affordable housing development, job creation, and public land use, among others, to address community needs and prioritize access to safe, well-lit streets, and parks and playgrounds in good repair; reliable transportation options; and access to banks and food retail services, in all communities.

“We believe this new edition of the Community Risk Ranking should spur a call action,” said Bijan Kimiagar, CCC’s Associate Executive Director for Research. “The data illustrate that progress is possible. We must remain diligent in advancing efforts across sectors to ensure that every community is equipped with the services and infrastructure needed to improve the well-being of vulnerable New Yorkers – our children and families.”

Download the 2018 Community Risk Ranking now. 


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