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Child & Family Inequities Score

The Child & Family Inequities Score provides a summary measure of the socio-economic challenges that children and families experience. The Child & Family Inequities Score is a tool to help explain the variation in socio-economic barriers across the City of Toronto neighbourhoods. While other composite measures of socio-economic disadvantage in the City exist, the Child & Family Inequities Score is unique because it uses indicators that are specific to families with children under the age of 12.

Figure 1: 2016 Child & Family Inequities Score Map

The map below shows the Child & Family Inequities Score by neighbourhood. Neighbourhoods are divided into four groups, with scores in the top 25% considered to have a ‘Very High’ level of inequities (shown in dark grey), and scores in the next 25% considered to have ‘High’ inequities (shown in dark blue), and so on to ‘Low’ inequities (medium blue) and ‘Very Low’ inequities (lightest blue).

Figure 2: 2016 Child Population and Inequities Score Dashboard

The dashboard below shows the Child & Family Inequities Score alongside neighbourhood child population. You can sort by child population or inequities score.

How was it made?

The Child & Family Inequities Score is a summary measure derived from five indicators which describe inequities experienced by the child and family population in each of Toronto’s 140 neighbourhoods. The choice of indicators was informed by roundtable discussion with experts and researchers that were brought together by the Toronto Child & Family Network, as well as research on the effects of socioeconomic status on child well-being, and the social determinants of child health. These five determinants were chosen because they are known social determinants of child health and well-being that reflect the important role that social demographic factors play in influencing healthy child development. Figure 3 shows the definition and weighting of the five indicators used in the creation of the Child & Family Inequities Score. For more information on how the original Child & Family Inequities Score was created, please refer to the Technical Report.

Figure 3: Indicators and weights included in the Child & Family Inequities Score

40% Low Income Measure Percent of families with an after-tax family income that falls below the Low Income Measure.
15% Parental Unemployment Percent of families with at least one unemployed parent/caregiver.
15% Low Parental Education Percent of families with at least on parent/caregiver that does not have a high school diploma.
15% No Knowledge of Official Language Percent of families with no parents who have knowledge of either official language (English or French).
15% Core Housing Need Percent of families in core housing need according to Statistics Canada definition

A note on the 2016 update

When the Inequities Score was first released, the mandatory long form Census had been replaced by the voluntary 2011 National Household Survey (NHS). For the first release of the Inequities Score, the NHS was used as the source for the education, unemployment, core housing need and official languages variables. While the source for family low income was the Low Income Measure – LIM from the Statistic’s Canada 2013 T1 Family File.

In 2016, the mandatory long form Census was reintroduced providing the opportunity to recreate the score with higher quality data. This newly updated Child & Family Inequities Score pulls all 5 indicators from the 2016 Census, ensuring that the indicators that make up the score are from the same time period, source and are of the highest quality. For this reason, the 2016 and 2011 Inequities Score are not directly comparable.

How can it be used?

The Child & Family Inequities Score is used throughout Raising the Village to demonstrate the important role inequities play in contextualizing child outcomes in the City. For examples of how the Child & Family Inequities Score can be used to explain outcomes, please see Physical Development, Emotional Maturity, Social Competency, Language and Cognitive Development and Communication and General Knowledge.

The Child & Family Inequities Score is not intended to be used to select “priority” neighbourhoods. Rather, it provides a summary score that allows us to quantify the level of inequities experienced by children and families in a neighbourhood while simultaneously considering five different indicators of inequity. The Child & Family Inequities Score is a powerful tool for understanding inequities that affect child and family well-being outcomes across the City, but it is only one measure. Communities are complex and multi-dimensional. Many neighbourhoods with Very High inequities also have resilient or protective factors, and many families in those communities may still experience good outcomes.