Using CAP Survey Data to Understand How Renters are Faring in our Community

The Santa Cruz County Community Assessment Project (CAP) was released in late November 2017. Through the use of supporting data and a unique survey capturing the views of nearly 800 local residents (a representative sample), the CAP offers a snapshot of the community to guide and inform action. For the first time since the report's inception in 1994, the survey requested housing status information (renter/homeowner) allowing for a new profile by which to view our 2017 community data.

It is not a question that Santa Cruz County is facing a housing crisis. Affordable housing is limited at best and not existent at worst. Low supply and high demand drives inordinate monthly rental costs and renters are often at the eye of this storm.  In seeking to use CAP data to drive action, ASR has leveraged the power of profile data to build an interactive and dynamic dashboard that considers how our local renters are faring relative to their home-owning peers and county residents overall. Aside from demographics, this dashboard specifically looks at health and social outcomes, both of which, research suggests, can be improved upon by access to affordable, stable housing. 

Key findings include:

  • Of the 42% of CAP survey respondents who identified as renters, a third (33%) were located in Watsonville, 28% in the City of Santa Cruz, and 4% in the San Lorenzo Valley. 
  • Renters identified as Latino at disproportionately higher rates (57%) than homeowners (20%); and were statistically more likely to report an annual income of $34,999 or less (54%) than their home-owning peers (12%).
  • When compared to homeowners (57%), renters are statistically less likely to perceive their overall health as "excellent" or "very good" (33%).
  • Renters are statistically more likely than homeowners to have gone without basic needs, lack a regular source of health care, go without regular dental care, unable to receive mental health and/or AOD abuse treatment, and experience characteristics of both depression and anxiety. 
  • Nearly 5 times as many renters (11%) as homeowners (2%) rated themselves low (0-4) on a 10-point life satisfaction scale and almost two times (6%) of the overall population. 
  • Renters are less likely than homeowners to respond favorably to questions regarding social cohesion and connection to neighborhood and to be engaged in civic activities. 

Click the image to launch the interactive dashboard

Content can be shared via social media, or downloaded as a PDF or image files using built-in tools at the bottom of the dashboard. Set scaling to "At most 1 page wide" for recommended display on letter-sized paper. 

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