Equity Indicator Report Limitations

This report is not without limitations. The main limitations of the report are described below. In addition, the limitations specific to each indicator where applicable are described within the section for that indicator.
  • While most indicators present data from 2021, not all data sources had information from 2021. This should be considered when attempting to compare across indicators.
  • Some demographic information is not currently collected, and therefore, could not be presented in this report. For instance, as the ACS stands currently, there is no category for Middle Eastern or North African (MENA) populations. This means that the outcomes of the MENA population in San Diego County cannot be observed, including the large Chaldean community in El Cajon.[1] There are efforts at the Census to address this gap.[2] Additionally, the ACS only collects information on sex, not gender, limiting any analysis on the experience of gender minorities, like trans, non-binary, and other gender non-conforming people.
  • The ACS and most data sources used in this report do not collect information on sexual orientation, leaving the experiences of the LGBTQ+ community out of the analysis. This exclusion prevents important insight into potential disparities members of the LGBTQ+ community experience and limit examination of the compounding effects of race, sex, and sexual orientation.
  • Demographics like race/ethnicity varied in how they were collected. For example, indicators from criminal-legal system organizations differ from many of the other indicators in this report such that demographic characteristics (e.g., race/ethnicity, gender) are often not self-reported by the impacted person, but instead reported by people working in the criminal-legal system (e.g., police officers) relying on visual and verbal cues such as skin tone and language. This means that the data recorded on these characteristics may not necessarily align with how people self-identify and may differ across time and reporting agencies for the same person.[3] It is difficult to change methods for race/ethnicity data collection when specific methods are required by legislation and policy set at the state and federal levels.
  • Demographics also varied in how they were categorized across sources. As different data sources were used across indicators, disaggregation could not always be uniform. As mentioned above, almost four in 10 indicators in this report used ACS data that were disaggregated by race/ethnicity, sex, disability status, and immigrant status. However, indicators that used other data sources may be missing these categories or have different categories entirely.
  • Because the indicators and data were partly selected on what data were current enough to use or available, some information of interest may not be presented in this report. For example, within Infrastructure, this report is limited in its ability to provide information on transportation costs, transit trips, and public transportation accessibility. Housing and Urban Development’s Housing and Transportation Index, which contains these indicators and reports them consistently throughout the country, are not released frequently. The most recent data available at the time of report planning were 2012. Even though newer data were released in October 2022, it was determined that data released every 10 years are not sufficient for an annual equity report. Similarly, across Jobs and Finances, this report is unable to capture wealth which would give additional context to understand residents’ economic stress, advancement, and security.
  • Some data are also limited to specific populations for which data are available. Within the Education section, the data for proficiency in math and language arts, ELL students, and suspensions only include K-12 public school students. The California Department of Education’s data repository, Dataquest, compiles reported data from public school districts and charter schools but does not include private schools or data about students who are schooled at home. Collecting and reporting comparable data for private and public-school students would provide a more complete picture of equity among San Diego County students.

  1.   Trageser, C. (2019, December 11). Large Chaldean Iraqi population thrives in San Diego suburb. CalMatters. Retrieved from http://calmatters.org/california-dream/2019/12/large-chaldean-iraqi-population-el-cajon/
  2.   Samhan, H.H. (n.d.). Middle East/North Africa (MENA) Reporting Category. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved April 12, 2023, from https://www2.census.gov/about/partners/cac/nac/meetings/2022-05/discussant-mena-reporting-category.pdf
  3.   Zatz, M. S., & Rodriguez, N. (2022). 2 Conceptualizing race and ethnicity in studies of crime and criminal justice. In R. D. Peterson, L. J. Krivo, & J. Hagan (Eds.), The Many Colors of Crime (pp. 39–53). New York University Press. https://doi.org/10.18574/nyu/9780814768549.003.0006

Updated February 7, 2024