The Port of Seattle’s Equity Index is an interactive map that displays a visual representation of social and environmental disparities in King County. Using 21 indicators within four categories, the Equity Index illustrates the degree to which different communities experience pollution burdens and social inequities. Across the region, there are significant variations in pollution exposure, access to economic opportunities, and the overall standard of living.
The index was created by the Port of Seattle’s Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion as a tool for the Port to understand those variations that exist within the region and use that information to direct resources towards the areas of greatest need. Port staff uses the Equity Index to equitably guide funding decisions and broadly inform policy decisions across the Port. Now the Equity Index is available as a resource for community members and organizations to learn more about disparities in their community.
The four categories of indicators featured in the index are economy, livability, accessibility, and environment.
- Economy — Indicators that demonstrate the opportunity for the creation, retention, transfer, and accumulation of wealth within a community for residents, businesses, and community stakeholders (e.g. poverty rate, median household income, educational attainment).
- Livability — Indicators that demonstrate a safe and healthy standard of living (e.g. housing cost burden, homeownership rate, transit access).
- Accessibility — Indicators that are not necessary for survival but advance the standard of living in a community so that people of all abilities can fully access and participate in public life (e.g. proximity to parks and open space, access to healthy food, pedestrian and bike facilities).
- Environment — Indicators that represent the health of the environment, including human-made impacts and bio-physical elements, and thus the vitality of the community (e.g. diesel emissions, risk of toxic release from facilities, traffic density).
The Equity Index is open source, and community members are encouraged to use this resource.
- See the Equity Index User Guide for instructions on how to navigate through the index.
- See the Frequently Asked Questions for additional information.
- See the Equity Index Data Definitions for detailed definitions of the indicators.
- See the Equity Index Literature Review for literature that connects each of the indicators to equity.
- Watch a recording of the Equity Index Webinar from October 5, 2021, and view the PowerPoint.
Equity Index in the Community
The Equity Index was established to develop equity-based partnerships and provide resources and support in the most vulnerable, underfunded communities in King County. With the Equity Index, the Port employs a data-driven approach to understanding environmental inequities and socioeconomic factors, using that data to inform decision-making. The following are four examples, one for each category, of projects that the Port is currently involved in and how the Equity Index will serve as a useful tool in the Port’s future efforts.