Spotlight Exclusives

A Tale of Five Californias and How to Bring Them Together

Posted on

California,the Golden State, is home to both 14k lifestyles and dust-bowl style deeppoverty. While the tale itself is far from novel, a unique new measure showsjust how profound the difference within communities can be.


InLos Angeles, for example, life expectancy averages 88.1 years in NewportBeach/Laguna Hills, but only 72.8 years in the low-income Watts section of thecity, according to data from the AmericanHuman Development Project, which this month releases A Portrait of California.The report uses the American Human Development Index, a composite measure ofhealth, education, and standard of living, to measure how Californians arefaring.


Thereport separates state residents into “FiveCalifornias” according to where they rank on the Index, ranging from thosein the top one percent with high levels of education and access toopportunities to those in the “Forsaken Five Percent” where people face a lifeexpectancy of nine fewer years and limited options.


Alongwith the report, an interactivemap tool allows people to see the narrative expressed through the numbers. Abreakdown of how several citiesperform along the index drives home the extreme levels of racial disparities inthe state. The chart depicting median earnings across five California metroareas shows incomes more than twice as high for white people than Latinos inthe Los Angeles and San Francisco areas. APortrait of California also explores why these gaps in health, education,and living standards exist and the actions that can be taken to alleviate them.


Aspart of their national work, the American Human Development Project, incollaboration with United Way, developed an online tool called the CommonGood Forecaster, which shows the impact of education on health, financialstability, civic engagement, children۪s educational achievement, and otherissues. Users can change the level of educational attainment to see how thesefactors shift at the state and county level and the concrete benefits thatresult from investments in education, many of which go beyondbetter jobs and bigger paychecks.


Tolearn more about the Common Good Forecaster and see a demonstration, join Spotlight for a webinar on June 3 from12:30 1:30 p.m. EST. Registerhere.


Posted by Jodie


Here at Out ofthe Spotlight, we offer a behind-the-scenes look at the latest news andinformation essential to anyone working to fight poverty. From key politicalappointees to clashes over policy, we cover the news that doesn’t always makethe evening news. Check out Out of the Spotlight for our take on thetwists and turns of the latest political developments and their impact onpoverty reduction. Topics and ideas are welcome! Just contact or

« Back to Spotlight Exclusives