The Sacramento Region’s six contiguous counties – El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, Yolo and Yuba – encompass more than 6,500 square miles of beautifully diverse California landscapes. There are Capitol promenades and world-class research universities, Central Valley farms and relatively affordable housing – all within easy reach of Lake Tahoe, the Sierra foothills, the San Joaquin delta and the San Francisco Bay.
It’s easy to see why our region’s population swelled by a third to 2.1 million people in the last 15 years – and why we’re the second-fastest-growing housing market in the state. While 81 percent of the region’s residents rated their city or community an “excellent” or “good” place to live in a 2004 poll, they also cited increasing concerns about growth and its impacts on traffic, agriculture and the environment.
Valley Vision aims to preserve our quality of life through a diverse portfolio of projects that focus on economic, social and environmental health. Our 2004 Sacramento Region Quality of Life Report helps provide a snapshot of the region and our work:
The Social Landscape
- The Milken Institute recently ranked our region the 15th “Best Performing City” in the country for its economy and business climate.
- Our average annual rate of job growth outperformed both the state’s and the nation’s during the recession, and net jobs increased by 5 percent since 2000.
- Federal, state and local governments provide more than a quarter of our jobs – roughly a third higher than the statewide average. The University of California, Davis and its medical center are the region’s second-largest employers.
- The region’s fastest-growing job clusters from 2000-2002 were information/telecommunication services and construction.
- Dun and Bradstreet and Entrepreneur Magazine ranked Sacramento as the second-best large city for entrepreneurs in the western U.S.
The Social Landscape
- Time Magazine named Sacramento the nation’s “Most Diverse City” in 2002, based on an analysis in partnership with Harvard University.
- Roughly 16 percent of our public-school students are English Language Learners, and they speak more than 54 languages.
- The overall number of higher-education degrees awarded to students here increased by 18 percent between 1998 and 2002.
- Thirty-eight percent of our school-aged children are enrolled in free or reduced-price meal programs at their schools – a partial measure of poverty – compared to 48 percent statewide.
- Thirty-eight percent of households in Sacramento, El Dorado and Placer counties could afford to buy a median-priced home in 2003 – better than the state rate of 29 percent, but a steep decline from the 62 percent local rate in 1998.
- About 94 square miles or 60,000 acres of our agricultural lands were converted to urban and built-up uses between 1984 and 2000.
- Roughly 61,000 acres in the region are protected for wildlife and/or recreation by land conservancies and trusts.
- Our residents drive an average of 26 miles every day, higher than Los Angeles and Orange counties. Growth in miles traveled is increasing faster than the population.
- The American Lung Association has rated the Sacramento region as the seventh worst in the nation for ozone air pollution and eighth-worst for small, lung-damaging particles, based on federal data. Seventy percent of our ozone is produced by cars, trucks and other mobile sources.
- An estimated one in six children in the region has been diagnosed with asthma.
See Valley Vision publications for additional information.