Measures to Advance Health and Opportunity

The HOPE Initiative

The Health Opportunity and Equity (HOPE) Initiative provides an interactive data tool designed to help states and the country move beyond measuring disparities to spurring action toward health equity. HOPE tracks social determinants of health and health outcomes by race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Indicators are organized into five domains—one for health outcomes and four domains that influence longevity and well-being. Our unique analyses use an opportunity framework to set aspirational but achievable goals to improve life outcomes—especially populations of color most affected by systemic racism and conscious and unconscious bias.

HOPE data identifies where residents of individual states and the country are doing well and where states can do more to help residents be healthier. In doing so, HOPE calculates three important factors that help state and federal leaders, advocates, and other stakeholders shape policies and practices: 1) where the gaps in opportunity are among people of different races and ethnicities; 2) what goals for achieving equity look like; and 3) how far they need to move the dial to make these goals a reality.


HOPE in the Time of COVID-19

The HOPE Initiative knows it is no accident that communities of color have been hit the hardest by the devastation of COVID-19. Across the country, these are the same groups facing steep systemic barriers to basic opportunities—from a livable income, affordable housing, and food security to access to neighborhoods that are safe and thriving. Left unchecked, disasters like the pandemic only make existing disparities worse.

In response to the pandemic, we created HOPE for COVID-19 to show how inequity plays a role in the virus’ disproportionate effects on communities of color. Specifically, we pair COVID-19 data with HOPE indicators in select states to reveal the connections among the pandemic’s inequitable outcomes and critical measures of health and opportunity. To read more about our findings related to the COVID-19 crisis, please check out our blog post in Health Affairs Grant Watch or visit the National Collaborative for Health Equity's website.


What Does HOPE Measure?

HOPE measures how different racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic populations are faring on 27 indicators of health and well-being, while examining the disparities that need to be addressed to achieve health equity. Specifically, HOPE sets aspirational, yet achievable goals based on the best outcomes some communities are already experiencing, and measures what it will take for everyone to achieve those goals. On this website, we feature available race and ethnicity data in our visuals. Our latest socioeconomic status data is available by download on the Resources page and older data can be viewed in our 2018 Chartbook and Appendix reports.

Health Equity

HOPE strives to achieve health equity. Health equity means that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible. For the purposes of measurement, health equity means reducing and ultimately eliminating disparities in health and its determinants.


HOPE tracks indicators across five topic areas, referred to as domains: health outcomes, social and economic factors, community and safety factors, the physical environment, and access to health care.


HOPE’s 27 indicators span the life course, and measure the outcomes, opportunities, and resources people need to achieve optimal health and well-being. These measures reflect systems and policies that affect health equity.


HOPE Goals are national benchmarks set for each indicator based on best outcomes achieved in the top five states. These aspirational benchmarks are possible because some people are already achieving them.

Distance to Goal

Distance to Goal (DTG) shows how much progress the nation and each state must make to achieve the HOPE Goal on a particular indicator, overall and by race and ethnicity.

Explore Conditions that Create Health

HOPE domains represent key social and environmental conditions that shape health across all groups and states. Within each domain, the indicators we chose reflect actionable public policy decisions and social systems embedded in our society--much more than individuals’ choices or circumstances. What’s the upshot? Every state has room to improve equity in residents’ health, well-being and quality of life.