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What is Strong Start Index?

Using data that already exists for children and families, the Strong Start Index summarizes, in a standardized way, the conditions into which children are born. It comprises a total of 12 variables that fall into four domains. A birth asset score is calculated by simply counting the number of assets present (0-12).

The California Strong Start indicators include:

  • Legal parentage established at birth
  • Born to non-teen parents
  • Born to parents with at least a high school diploma

  • Healthy birthweight
  • Absence of congenital anomalies, abnormalities, or birth complications
  • Absence of transmissible (mother-to-child) infections

  • Access to and receipt of timely prenatal care
  • Receipt of nutritional services (WIC) if eligible
  • Hospital with high percentage of births with timely prenatal care

  • Ability to afford and access healthcare
  • Born to a parent with a college degree
  • Born to parents with employment history

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 during that year.