Definitions of Equity

The Regional Equity Atlas 2.0 definition of equity was inspired and informed by the language and concepts developed by a range of other local and national organizations:

Clark County Public Health

  • Health inequity: Differences in population health that can be traced to unequal economic and social conditions and are systematic and avoidable and thus inherently unfair.
  • Health equity: Everyone has a fair and equal opportunity to attain their full potential of health.

Greater Portland Pulse

Equity means that all individuals, regardless of ‘markers of difference’ including but not limited to race, ethnicity, income, disability, and age, have equal privilege and opportunity to access the basic needs, services, skills and assets required to succeed in life.

King County, Washington

  • Equity means all people have full and equal access to opportunities that enable them to attain their full potential.
  • Inequity means differences in well-being that disadvantage one individual or group in favor of another. These differences are systematic, patterned and unfair and can be changed. Inequities are not random; they are caused by past and current decisions, systems of power and privilege, policies and the implementation of those policies.
  • Determinants of equity means the social, economic, geographic, political and physical environment conditions in which people in our county are born, grow, live, work and age that lead to the creation of a fair and just society.

Kirwan Institute

Equitable regionalism calls for proactive policymaking that gives all people access to neighborhood resources, connections to opportunity-rich areas within their region, and a voice in the future of their own community. It also affirms the need for every community to have a voice in the resource development and future of its region.

Multnomah County Health Equity Initiative

The root causes of health disparities are broadly based in inequities in many aspects of life, including social and economic policies. Solutions should emphasize consideration of the social determinants of health, including economic, social, environmental, and political forces that can either promote or compromise the health of populations, especially of the historically disadvantaged, including people of color, women, the disabled, sexual minorities and the poor...A first step to address racial and economic injustices is for government and the community to recognize and dismantle intentional and de facto policies and practices that maintain privilege among historically advantaged groups, such as Whites, males, and the wealthy.

Northwest Health Foundation and Coalition of Communities of Color

We have a shared fate—as individuals within a community and communities within society. All communities need the ability to shape their own present and future. Equity is both the means to healthy communities and an end that benefits us all. Equity requires the intentional examination of systemic policies and practices that, even if they have the appearance of fairness, may, in effect, serve to marginalize some and perpetuate disparities. Working toward equity requires an understanding of historical contexts and the active investment in social structures over time to ensure that all communities can experience their vision for health (alternative language used by Coalition of Communities of Color: vision for success).

Policy Link

The goal of regional equity is to ensure that everyone— regardless of the neighborhood in which they live— has access to essential ingredients for economic and social success.

Portland Plan

Equity is when everyone has access to opportunities necessary to satisfy essential needs, advance their well-being, and achieve their full potential. We have a shared fate as individuals within a community and communities within society. All communities need the ability to shape their own present and future. Equity means both the means to healthy communities and an end that benefits us all.

STAR Community Index

  • Procedural equity: Governmental processes and procedures are designed to promote the participation of everyone in the community and are designed to treat everyone who participates fairly.
  • Distributional equity: Everyone has access to quality, affordable goods and services because various potential systematic disadvantages have been addressed.
  • Accessibility: There are many considerations to ensure that basic goods and services are available and accessible to all residents. These include geographic accessibility (distance and transportation), cultural accessibility, offering critical services at appropriate times, and addressing language and educational barriers that can make it difficult for people to take advantage of certain opportunities.
  • Inclusion: Particular groups of people are not politically, socially, economically or spatially marginalized. On the whole, all groups feel valued and empowered. They feel welcome to play an active role in the life of their neighborhoods and in the formal processes of their municipality.
  • Outcome equity: The costs and benefits of economic, social and environmental systems and policies are borne equally by different groups of people.