Are Long Island’s children better off than rest of U.S.? Yes – and no.

According to data from a recent report, most Long Island children have a “high opportunity level” when compared to the rest of the nation.

This “opportunity level” is a measure for the quality of resources and conditions for children to develop in a healthy way. It’s an aggregation of 29 different indicators covering three domains: education, health and environment.

For this report, Brandeis University’s Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy collected data for more than 72,000 census tracts covering the entire U.S.

From that, they calculated a normalized overall “Child Opportunity Scores (COS)” that correspond to a “Child Opportunity Level (COL)” to let people compare different regions of the nation.

In other words, the higher a tract’s overall COS, the more opportunities are afforded to children living within it, and Long Island fares well with a median overall COS of 76.

Long Island inequity

Even though Long Island’s median score is 76 (a high opportunity level), it is still possible for parts of Long Island to have terrible opportunity levels.

There is a large gap between the highest score (98) and the lowest score (11) on Long Island. This means that depending on where a child is growing up, their opportunities could vary from “very low” to “very high.” In other words, Long Island has a child opportunity equity problem.

To emphasize the gap, we recalculated for new levels to compare different tracts within Long Island.*

We also overlaid Census data on the race of children living in each tract.

Census tracts with higher opportunity scores tend to have higher concentration of white children.

Patchogue, for example, has about 70% non-white children and its overall opportunity level is “very low,” Muttontown meanwhile has approximately 78% white children and its opportunity level is “high.”

Use the map below to further explore the data. Click on the map to view its opportunity level, score, and percentage of white or non-white children. Use the layer filter to toggle additional views.

We narrowed the data to Long Island census tracts, and calculated the weighted percentiles for each tract using the national, overall Child Opportunity Scores of the tracts with the population as its weight.

For a detailed explanation of how and why, please refer to page 17 of the Child Opportunity Index’s technical documentation.

We replicated what they did with metro- and state-normalized scores, but with a tighter focus to be more relevant for our readers.