What does equity mean and why does it matter?
In this section, we examine racial and ethnic disparities in financial, education and community indicators.
Before understanding data sets, it is important to define what ‘equity’ means. Sometimes, equity and equality are used interchangeably. Arkansas Community Foundation’s experience working with nonprofits shows us that these two terms mean different things. Understanding the differences influences how we, and you, can have an impact in our communities.
Equity recognizes that each person has different circumstances and allocates resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome.
Equality means every individual or group of people is given the same resources or opportunities.
Understanding the difference between equality and equity is important to ensure that resources are directed appropriately as well as to support the ongoing process of meeting people where they are. Providing the same type and number of resources to all is not enough. To reduce the disparities gap, the underlying issues and individual needs of underserved and vulnerable populations must also be effectively addressed. Here are some examples to help show the importance of equity in our communities:
Examples of EQUALITY
Examples of EQUITY
A city cuts the budget for 25 community centers by reducing the operational hours for all centers by the same amount at the same times.
The city determines which times and how many hours communities actually need to use their community centers and reduces hours for centers that aren’t used as frequently.
A community meeting, where all members of the community are invited, is held about a local environmental health concern. The meeting is held in English, however English is not the primary language for 25% of the residents.
The community leaders hire translators to attend the meeting, provide brochures explaining the issue in multiple languages, or offer an additional meeting held in another language.
All public schools in a community have computer labs with the same number of computers and hours of operation during school hours.
Computer labs in lower income neighborhoods have more computers and printers, as well as longer hours of operation, as some students don’t have access to computers or internet at home.
Racial and ethnic disparities impact our population of nearly 500,000 African Americans and 237,000 Latino residents in Arkansas. Arkansas is also home to more than 50,000 Asians, 31,000 Native Americans, 12,000 Pacific Islanders and 67,000 residents who have a multiracial background. Unfortunately, Arkansas has a history of policies, practices and systems that affect people of color and have helped create some of the disparities in the data.
Fortunately, there are a plethora of resources, including this site, we can use to better understand these inequities and how we can address them. There are data resources such as the National Equity Atlas; racial equity-focused research from organizations like the Urban Institute; tools for learning and change such as those available at Racial Equity Tools, and personal narratives from writers such as Ta-Nehisi Coates.
More tools about equity:
|Education: Access to Quality Child Care for Infants and Toddlers
|Education: Access to Quality Child Care for Preschoolers
|Education: Grade 3 Reading
|Education: Grade 8 Math
|Education: Graduation Rate
|Education: Remediation Rate
|Education: Adults with a High School Degree
|Education: Adults with a Bachelor's Degree or Higher
|Education: Adults Pursuing Further Education
|Education: Imagination Libraries
|Health: Low Birth Weight Babies
|Health: Early Prenatal Care
|Health: Overweight or Obese Students
|Health: Overweight or Obese Adults
|Health: Physically Inactive Adults
|Health: Smoking Rate
|Health: Insurance Coverage Rates
|Health: Oral Health
|Health: Life Expectancy
|Health: Routine Check-ups
|Health: Overdose Deaths
|Families: Teen Births
|Families: Children Living in Poverty
|Families: People Living in Poverty
|Families: Elderly Living in Poverty
|Families: Median Household Income
|Families: Unemployment Rate
|Families: Homeownership Rate
|Families: Child Abuse and Neglect
|Families: Access to Financial Services
|Families: Food Insecurity
|Families: Food Deserts
|Families: Change in Total Jobs
|Families: Cost of Homeownership
|Families: Households Below ALICE Threshold
|Families: Overall Housing Cost Burden
|Families: Child Care Costs for Toddlers
|Families: Medical Debt
|Families: Households Receiving SNAP
|Families: Incarceration Rate
|Community: Voter Participation Rate
|Community: Charitable Giving
|Community: Group Participation
|Community: Connection to Neighbors
|Community: Local Voting
|Demographics: Change in Population
|Demographics: Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity
|Demographics: Change in Population by Age
|Racial Equity: Remediation Rate
|Racial Equity: Adults with a High School Degree
|Racial Equity: Adults with a Bachelor's Degree or Higher
|Racial Equity: Adults Pursuing Further Education
|Racial Equity: Low Birth Weight Babies
|Racial Equity: Early Prenatal Care
|Racial Equity: Overweight or Obese Students
|Racial Equity: Overweight or Obese Adults
|Racial Equity: Physically Inactive Adults
|Racial Equity: Smoking Rate
|Racial Equity: Insurance Coverage Rates
|Racial Equity: Oral Health
|Racial Equity: Life Expectancy
|Racial Equity: Routine Check-ups
|Racial Equity: Teen Births
|Racial Equity: Children Living in Poverty
|Racial Equity: People Living in Poverty
|Racial Equity: Elderly Living in Poverty
|Racial Equity: Median Household Income
|Racial Equity: Unemployment Rate
|Racial Equity: Homeownership Rate
|Racial Equity: Child Abuse and Neglect
|Racial Equity: Food Insecurity
|Racial Equity: Homelessness
|Racial Equity: Cost of Homeownership
|Racial Equity: Medical Debt
|Racial Equity: Households Receiving SNAP
|Racial Equity: Incarceration Rate
|Racial Equity: Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity