Putting youth on the map: A pilot instrument for assessing youth well-being

Nancy Erbstein, Cassie Hartzog, Estella M. Geraghty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Extant measures of adolescent well-being in the United States typically focus on negative indicators of youth outcomes. Indices comprised of such measures paint bleak views of youth and orient action toward the prevention of problems over the promotion of protective factors. Their tendency to focus analyses at a state or county geographic scale produces limited information about localized outcome patterns that could inform policymakers, practitioners and advocacy networks. We discuss the construction of a new geo-referenced index of youth well-being based on positive indicators of youth development. In demonstrating the index for the greater Sacramento, California region of the United States, we find that overall youth well-being falls far short of an optimal outcome, and geographic disparities in well-being appear to exist across school districts at all levels of our analysis. Despite its limitations, the sub-county geographic scale of this index provides needed data to facilitate local and regional interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)257-280
Number of pages24
JournalChild Indicators Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2013


  • Adolescent well-being
  • Child well-being
  • Index
  • Metropolitan regions
  • Spatial analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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