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Department of Health Services

A Portrait of Sonoma County

Portrait of Sonoma County 2014

A Portrait of Sonoma County - Sonoma County Human Development Report 2014 - Commissioned by County of Sonoma, Department of Health Services

The 2014 A Portrait of Sonoma County report took an in-depth look at how the residents of Sonoma County were faring in three fundamental areas: life expectancy, education, and income. The report examined disparities within Sonoma County among neighborhoods and along the lines of race, ethnicity, and gender.

  • The 2014 Portrait of Sonoma County explored differences in health, income, and education by neighborhood, race and ethnicity, and gender.
  • The report found that education is the biggest predictor of a community's health and income potential.
  • Key community-wide recommendations in response to the report were a to make universal preschool a reality and to increase anti-smoking efforts.
  • Place-based recommendations included improving neighborhood conditions to make the healthy choice the easy choice, mending holes in the safety net for undocumented immigrants, addressing inequalities in educational opportunities, reducing youth disconnection, and improving wages.

Key 2014 report findings:

  • The most extreme differences in well-being were highlighted in comparing East Bennett Valley (highest) to Roseland Creek (lowest), neighborhoods less than five miles apart.
  • Life expectancy between neighborhoods differed by as much as 10 years.
  • Variations in education were startlingly wide: 5% of adults living in East Bennett Valley at that time had a high school diploma versus only 54% of adults in Roseland Creek.
  • Priority areas identified as greatest opportunities for improvement were: Southeast, Southwest, and Northwest Santa Rosa; East Cloverdale; and the Springs in Sonoma Valley.

How local organizations responded

  • Built awareness of inequities among staff and boards
  • Adopted shared ownership in efforts to reduce inequities
  • Incorporated the Portrait of Sonoma County into strategic planning and/or program planning
  • Used the report to guide and strengthen advocacy/policy work
  • Factored the report into making investment decisions and to strengthen funding applications

A Portrait of Sonoma County 2014 , commissioned by the Sonoma County Department of Health Services, included a Pledge of Support for an Agenda for Action,  a set of policy changes and recommended actions to reduce disparities. More than 60 organizations and elected officials signed on to the pledge, including healthcare providers, schools, non-profit organizations, community coalitions, local media, and many more, all of whom pledged to consider the report in their future planning efforts. 

"Portraits" of Sonoma County Reflect on Impact

To reflect the 2014 Portrait of Sonoma County's impact, community organizations participated in a social media project to show how they were using the report in their work one year after the report was published.