The Youth Well-being Index: a Corollary to the Health Opportunity Index

Our opportunity to live a long and healthy life begins in our youth. Young people are influenced by many of the same factors as adults, but they also face unique challenges specific to their age and development. Virginia’s Youth Well-being Index (YWBI) captures those challenges using eight unique indicators:  Crime, Family Stability, Housing, Population Density, Pre-K Enrollment, Primary Care Access, Psychiatrist Access and Child Poverty. For details on each of these indicators, see our definitions page.

We initially included an education index covering fourth grade reading and math proficiency. However, we found that the eight indicators of the current YWBI explained both educational and health outcomes. Additionally, educational and health outcomes are closely related themselves. So we have included the education index here as a stand-alone index. It is not included in the YWBI.

A Closer Look

Like health opportunity, youth well-being varies broadly across Virginia and within communities. Use the tool below to examine youth well-being at the Census Tract level in your Local Health District. Census Tracts are statistical areas created by the US Census Bureau that roughly equate to neighborhoods or groups of neighborhoods with similar characteristics. For insight into the factors influencing health in your area, use the radio buttons on the right to switch between the YWBI, the Education Index and the eight indicators that make up the YWBI.