‘The Forsaken Five Percent’

UPDATE: ‘Valley is lagging behind’ ran in the Oct. 26 edition of Vida.

Welcome to the San Joaquín Valley, which a recent report dubbed ‘The Forsaken Five Percent’ of California.

Here, a Latino resident lives an average of 81.2 years – about a year longer than the average Californian, but less than Latinos in other areas.

Here, 28.4 percent of adults have never completed high school, and just 16 percent have a bachelor’s degree.

Here, the median personal earnings for Latino adults is $18,000, more than $10,000 less than the state’s median personal earnings, of $30,000.

These facts – and many more – are available in ‘A Portrait of California,’ a report published in May by the American Human Development Project. (They are the authors of ‘The Measure of America,’ which found that the country’s 20th Congressional District – located here in Valley – ranked last among the country’s 435 districts in terms of well-being.)

The report takes 233 neighborhoods and counties in the state, and analyzes them by life expectancy, access to knowledge, and median personal earnings. It shows disparities throughout the state, but also within regions like the Valley.

To many residents, grassroots advocates, and reporters like me, this type of information, sadly, is no longer shocking. But it certainly underscores the need for continued collaboration, advocacy, and – in my case – reporting.

Read more about ‘A Portrait of California’ – and its implication for Valley Latinos – in next week’s edition of Vida.


#1 REY LEON on 10.21.11 at 11:56 am

The Health and Well being of the Latino community in California will imply the stability of the State in the near future. It is also relevant to share that that is also the case nationally in decades to come. Meaning, we have some work to do! Most of it around the bringing down of barriers to more effectively work as a regional community in the Valley and to assess assets and gaps to effectively provide a better service to all residents. The Measure of the Valley event was very poignant in the message of what must be done with the dialogue of the participants from various institutions willing to get it done. Big kudos to the American Human Development Project and all those who participated in the discussion with their issues, concerns and recommendations.

#2 Irma Yepez-Perez on 10.24.11 at 10:39 am

We know the stats and the needs, and it is more than due time to take action on these issues that impact the future of our community and of California. We need to create pathways out of poverty at every level to change this trajectory for Latinos. Instead of planning for future prison beds, we can act locally by volunteering to read and increasing literacy rates, or create other opportunities for youth. I hope that everyone that reads the article will make a concerted effort to take action. Gracias

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