Even though they all live within the city boundaries, Jacksonville’s children are not afforded equal opportunities — often based on where they live.
A report released in March 2011 looked at how more than a dozen indicators affect the well-being of children in Duval County. The report was conducted by the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Ohio State University for the Jacksonville Children’s Commission. The Jesse Ball DuPont Fund paid for the study.
The indicators were divided into three specific areas: Neighborhood Indicators, Education and School-Related Indicators, and Health and Environmental Indicators.
The results showed that there is a division of opportunity between the eastern and western parts of the county. While the southeastern portion of the city has seen opportunity improvement for children, there has been a persistent concentration of opportunity-poor communities in the Urban Core and an opportunity decline in areas in the southwest over the last twenty years.
There is also a significant racial disparity: While only 16.56 percent of white children live in lower opportunity areas, the percentage for African American children is 59.73 percent.
Poverty rates and related indicators have a notable impact on health outcomes. For example, Health Zone 1 has the worst neighborhood conditions and the highest incidence of health outcomes like diabetes and teen births. The Coalition has also seen a similar trend in this area with infant mortality.
The Kirwan Institute also looked in depth at the New Town Success Zone area in North Jacksonville, a neighborhood-based city initiative modeled after the Harlem Children’s Zone. The report revealed that the NTSZ area has a very high concentration of non-whites (98 to 100 percent ), alongside a concentration of poverty and low-income families — which is reflected in the high percentage of economically disadvantaged students in the two schools in the area.