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What is the Strong Start Index?

The Strong Start Index uses information collected at birth from every child in California to paint a portrait of the resources that promote resilience in a given neighborhood, county, or region. Certain assets that are present and recorded at birth, such as healthy birth weight, timely prenatal care, and a track record of parental employment, lay a foundation for a baby to thrive during childhood and build resilience throughout life. The Strong Start Index summarizes these assets for regions across California, providing a common score. With this information, we can support children more effectively–ensuring resources and services go where they are needed the most.

How are we doing in California?

On average in California, babies are born with 9 of the 12 Strong Start assets. But there are wide differences across communities in the state. For example, there are neighborhoods where, on average, babies are born with six assets, and other neighborhoods where, on average, babies are born with 11.

How are we doing locally?

The map below shows the average number of Strong Start assets for babies born within each neighborhood, in relation to other neighborhoods statewide. Means for all neighborhoods in California are placed along a continuum, and then grouped into quintiles (e.g., 20% groupings), each representing where that neighborhood’s score falls relative to all other neighborhoods in California. For example, bright green (81-100% percentile) indicates that the average number of Strong Start assets for births in that neighborhood is in the top 20% for neighborhoods in California.

The data graphic below the map shows the number of babies born that year with each Strong Start score, in relation to the statewide average.