Last month, we had the opportunity to explore some of the latest American Community Survey data on median household earnings, and how they have changed over time both nationally and throughout California. (Earnings have largely remained constant for decades among most working families, but there are huge disparities among CA neighborhoods). In this blog post, we are using the same data source to explore the intersection between educational attainment and median personal earnings. This is a particularly important subject as educational attainment is universally acknowledged as a primary factor in eliminating generational poverty, and in human development.
In 2015, United Way of California’s report on poverty, Struggling to Get By: The Real Cost Measure in California, found that 31% of households in California do not earn sufficient income to meet life’s basic needs. Approximately half of those, 1.5 million, are Latino-led households.
While it is too early to estimate the long-term impact of the Trump Administration’s decision to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), Latino households in California have the most to lose than any demographic group nationally.
In March 2017, Measure of America, a trusted partner of United Way, released their latest report on disconnected youth, those not enrolled in school or participating in the labor force between the ages of 16-24.
In Promising Gains, Persistent Gaps: Youth Disconnection in America, Sarah Burd-Sharps and Kristen Lewis find there were approximately 609,000 disconnected youth in California in 2015, easily the highest rate in the nation. However, California also experienced a decrease of disconnected youth from 2010-15 by 18%, indicating improved well-being for that vulnerable population since the Great Recession. While that is certainly good news, it is prudent to consider how disconnected youth are spatially dispersed throughout California and the opportunities we have to better serve them.
Last month, the world lost one of its greatest champions in human development and global health, Hans Rosling. Among other things, Mr. Rosling became internationally famous for visualizing complicated data and making it understandable, interactive and engaging for all audiences (even if it meant proving we are often no smarter than a chimpanzee). He taught us that despite all of the world’s ongoing challenges, we have made great social progress over the past several decades. Take for instance that:
What would happen to income levels in Santa Barbara County if everyone completed their high school diploma/GED? Thanks to the new Common Good Forecaster developed by United Way and Measure of America, we now have the ability to find out — not only in Santa Barbara, but across California and the entire country.