November 11, 2014 | Featured, Issues

How can we best measure equality—and inequality—in New York City in a way that helps policymakers and practitioners identify specific changes that will lead to greater equality?

Our new project at the CUNY Institute for State and Local Governance is trying to answer that question. And we’re looking for input from NYC’s many communities to help shape our research from the beginning.

On November 17, we will be hosting our second of three community meetings at the CUNY Graduate Center to gather input on our approach to this work from community members and leaders from around the city.

Following our first community meeting on October 30th, we have already refined parts of our Equality Indicators tool based on feedback we received.


More than 40 members attended CUNY ISLG’s first meeting to get input from community members. We received excellent feedback from attendees that will inform our research going forward. Some of the thoughts mentioned included the need to look at education beyond test scores, the importance of looking at “meaningful employment,” capturing the movement and impact of gentrification, looking into measures of participatory budgeting and civic participation, and more.

Project Refinement

Based on the feedback we received, we have adjusted the sectors we plan to examine. The sectors now include

  • Economy
  • Education
  • Health
  • Housing and neighborhood
  • Justice and civics
  • Transportation and built environment

These changes give us a broader perspective in some of these areas, allowing us to incorporate indicators to measure areas such as community engagement and political representation

As we develop these indicators, we want to take into consideration people who might be particularly likely to experience inequality. Based on the feedback from community members at the meeting, we have broadened the groups to include

  • People living in poverty
  • Racial or ethnic minorities
  • People living with a physical and/or intellectual disability
  • People with mental illness
  • LGBTQ individuals
  • Children under age 18
  • People 65 and older
  • Women
  • Single parents and non-traditional families
  • Religious minorities
  • Immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers
  • Residents of areas prone to natural disasters or unhealthy environments
  • Individuals involved in the criminal justice system
  • Domestic violence victims
  • Victims of other crimes
  • People who are not proficient in English

We invite you to get involved and share your input with us by completing this brief survey. (Results are anonymous.)

More information about CUNY ISLG’s Equality Indicators project is available at http://islg.cuny.edu/our-work/current-projects/equality-indicators/ or you may contact Victoria.Lawson@islg.cuny.edu.