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New Study Puts Numbers to Equality in Tulsa

Community Service Council

A new report measures equality in Tulsa on a 100-point scale.

There’s an overall score and individual scores for indicators of economic opportunity, education, housing, justice, public health and services.

"The numbers are very bad," said Mayor G.T. Bynum. "We’ve known for a long time in Tulsa that we had a serious issue with, in particular, racial disparity in our city. People felt that in their gut, but they didn’t necessarily have a way to measure it. And the reality is that we have a long way to go."

Tulsa’s overall score on the Equality Indicators report is 38.93 out of 100, with a high of 47 for public health and a low of 34.33 for housing.

Chief Resilience Officer DeVon Douglass said the Equality Indicators report will help the city work with organizations to level the playing field, not to take from one part of town to give to another.

"We want to live in a city and we want to create a city for our neighbors that’s good, and most Tulsans believe that," Douglass said. "And Equality Indicators is a way to remind people that right now, it’s not the best, but with these good intentions and with heartfelt beliefs that we can get to the place that we want to be."

The Equality Indicators were developed through the city’s partnership with the City University of New York and 100 Resilient Cities. Each score is based on publicly available data analyzed by the Community Service Council.

Scores on 54 individual indicators range from 1, or greatest inequality, for race and homelessness, to 100, or greatest equality, for geography and public parks with playgrounds.

Douglass said perfect scores are alluring but not the goal.

"It’s not just about making the number higher. The number only moves when people’s lives move. The number only changes when people’s lives change. So, the goal is to change people’s lives."

This year's scores set a baseline for equality in Tulsa. Scores in subsequent years will show progress toward a more equitable city.