Sonoma County plans Latino socioeconomics 'scorecard' to help balance community success
Development of a Sonoma County Latino Scorecard - tracking in key areas of Latino life such as housing and health - was among the ideas detailed Sept. 26 at at the State of the Latino Community conference organized by Los Cien, the county's largest Latino leadership organization.
The scorecard tracks key drivers of socioeconomic mobility and well-being of Latino residents in Sonoma County clustered in five categories: political participation, education, financial stability, neighborhood engagement and health and environment, according to Leah Murphy, program and planning evaluation analyst at Sonoma County Human Services,
Herman Hernandez, chairman of Los Cien ("The 100") and Magali Telles, executive director, described how the 10-year-old organization grew from a few individuals meeting for lunch in a back room of Mary's Pizza Shack in Santa Rosa in 2009 to over 1,600 supporters in Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino and Lake counties. The sixth annual event brought together over 600 Latino leaders, partners, supporters and elected officials in the Sonoma State University Student Center ballroom.
Keynote speaker Aneesh Raman, senior adviser on strategy, external affairs, economic development and planning for Gov. Gavin Newsom, observed that California is both the richest and the poorest state, with 114 consecutive months of job growth, while one in five children live at or below the poverty level.
“The economy is not working for everyone. We need strategic, inclusive and sustainable growth,” Raman said.
Oscar Chavez, emphasized the importance of participation in the 2020 U.S. Census. For every person not counted, he said the county can lose $2,000 a year in government funding, or $20,000 over a 10-year period between census polls.
“It's about leveraging the power of data found in the scorecard to make positive changes, such as how to prioritize investments and realize financial stability, how to increase political participation among Latinos, how to address the causal factors driving key issues, defining potential strategies needed to cope with these issues, and how to mobilize communities to implement action programs - as well as ways to foster greater neighborhood engagement while improving the health and environment of all county residents,” Chavez said.
10 DRIVERS OF MOBILITY
Murphy explained how the scorecard is designed to track 10 key drivers of socioeconomic mobility and well-being in five categories:
Political participation: Fifty-nine percent of Latinos age 18 and above are registered to vote, versus 77% for all Sonoma County. Latinos represent 11% of elected officials (among county board of supervisors and local city councils, not counting school boards). White elected officials account for 89%.
Education: Twenty-five percent of Latino children are ready for kindergarten, versus 46% among whites. Eleven percent of Latinos have a Bachelor of Arts degree or higher, compared with 39% of whites.
Financial stability: The median income among Latino households is $59,000, but for whites it is $76,000. For home ownership, Latinos make up 38%, while for whites the figure is 65%.
Neighborhood engagement: This looks at impacts of low neighborhood resources, high poverty rates, lower educational attainment, high traffic density, air pollution and drinking water contaminants. These factors affect 65% of Latino communities and 36% of white neighborhoods. Linguistic isolation (limited English-speaking households) is found among 30% of Latinos and 6% of whites in the county.
Health and environment: Children up to age 17 who have two or more adverse childhood experiences (ACE) make up 15% of the Sonoma County population. It has not been broken out by ethnicity. In terms of adult obesity (adults age 18 and older with a body mass index of 30 or higher), incidence among Latinos is 33% and for whites, 23%.
HOW TO GET TO 'SUSTAINABLE GROWTH'
Raman from Newsom's office detailed what's needed for strategic, inclusive and sustainable growth.
"The big issues involve failures associated with the quality of jobs and industry conditions as well as affordable housing," he said. "We are building 80,000 to 90,000 homes per year but actually need 500,000 new homes to meet demand. Some 70% of growth occurs in the coastal areas. We must focus on creating more quality jobs for our nearly 50 million state residents. Inland areas account for 25% of the total population but have fewer knowledge-worker jobs.”
He said about 53% of California's philanthropic dollars go to the Bay Area, which only represents 20% of the state population.