Yesterday, ASR joined the United Way, Dominican Hospital, and a host of community stakeholders, elected officials, and interested community members for the release of the 21st annual Community Assessment Project (CAP). Santa Cruz County's CAP is the second longest running CAP in the country and has received national and international awards for its continued updates about life in Santa Cruz County. This year's presentation recognized community heroes and laid out community goals for 2016-2020.
The CAP tracks indicators that touch in all aspects of life in Santa Cruz County, including Public Safety, Education, Natural Environment, and others. Below are some highlights from this year's report.
Recent improvements in quality of life:
61% of CAP survey respondents reported being “very satisfied” with their quality of life in 2015.
Unemployment went down in the county for the last 4 years from 12.1% in 2011 to 8.7% in 2014.
There was a 44% decrease in the number of homeless persons counted in the biennial point-in-time count from 3,536 individuals in 2013 to 1,964 in 2015.
Alcohol use by teens has been going down for 7th-11th graders since 2004/2005 with 47% of 11th graders having used alcohol in the past 30 days prior to the survey in 2004/2005 to 34% in 2014/2016.
The county high school graduation rate has been increasing from 81% in 2009/10 to 86% in 2013/14.
Crimes in the county decreased from a rate of 39.6 per 1,000 residents in 2009 to 34.6 per 1,000 in 2014.
Over 80% of low income families eligible for subsidized child care do not get it due to funding shortages.
The occupations with the most projected job growth over the next ten years in the county are for personal care aides and home health aides, with low salaries (a median annual salary of approximately $23,000 in 2012) especially for such a high cost county.
Latino CAP survey respondents were significantly more likely to go without food when their current supply ran out (43% of Latino respondent said it was “sometimes” or “often” true), compared to White respondents (12% of White respondents said it was “sometimes” or “often” true).
94% of White CAP telephone survey respondents had a regular source of health care in 2015, compared to 80% of Latino survey respondents, a statistically significant difference.
Water availability was the #1 environmental concern according to 2015 CAP survey respondents.