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NAACP and Brookings Launch The Black Progress Index: 5 Things to Know

NAACP and Brookings Launch The Black Progress Index: 5 Things to Know

Black Progress Index

Black Family (iStock)

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has partnered with the Brookings Institution to launch the Black Progress Index, a tool aimed at examining the social factors that influence Black well-being.

Here are five things to know about the Black Progress Index.

1. Launched in September 2022, the Black Progress Index uses various data points to measure the health of Black Americans through life-expectancy.

The Black Progress Index is an interactive report compiled of data from Black communities across the country. It was first announced in September 2022 and analyzes what factors add to or subtract from Black life expectancy.

2. The goal is to measure the factors associated with thriving Black communities to inform solutions and policy better.

According to Brookings, the Black Progress Index “provides a means to understand the health and well-being of Black people and the conditions that shape their lives.”

NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson noted the importance of using data to inform solutions to problems.

“Data and research must be at the core of any strategy designed to make an impact – it is foundational and necessary for success in civic engagement,” Johnson said in a statement. “This crucial work and deep understanding is why the NAACP continues to create change that is meaningful and sustainable for the people we serve.”

“Through our partnership with the Brookings Institute, we are diving into the most pressing issues — from education, pollution, heath, wealth, and poverty — to better understand the intricacies and challenges Black Americans face,” Johnson continued. “As we continue our grassroots organizing and mobilization of resources across all 50 states, this knowledge will serve as an invaluable tool to inform our work and ensure we are improving outcomes for our


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3. The Black Progress Index examines 13 variables to determine the health and wealth of Black communities across the country.

The tool examines factors like educational attainment, income, homeownership rates, business ownership rates and more to determine the health and wealth of Black communities.

The factors fall into five categories: wealth, human and social capital, environmental quality, safety and family health. The latter measures the number of Black children who live with their fathers.

4. The top 20 counties with thriving Black communities range from New York and Virginia to Florida and Georgia.

According to data from the index, thriving Black communities are scattered across the country. The index shows top-performing counties in Loudoun County (the DMV area); Collier County (Naples, Florida); Forsyth Country (Atlanta, Georgia); Nassau County (New York) and more.

Minnesota, Iowa, Ohio and New Hampshire are also included in the states with the Top 20 healthiest Black communities.

5. Researchers hope to empower communities with data and information.

Brookings Senior Fellow Andre Perry and Nonresident Senior Fellow Jonathan Rothwell did a comprehensive analysis of the data for the Black Progress Index. They hope the findings will help community leaders and lawmakers find viable solutions to increase the health and wealth of Black communities.

“The primary goal of this tool is to empower local leaders with information to excite civic action,” said Perry, who is the research lead. “Research from the Black Progress Index will provide insights into the most impactful conditions that affect their quality of life and give communities goals and benchmarks to track their advancements.”