Community Assessment Project

Community Assessment Porject Provides Snapshot of Quality of Life in Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz Sentinel
By Samantha Clark


APTOS, Despite an improving economy, the divide between the haves and the have-nots persists in Santa Cruz County, according to an annual survey.

More than 70 percent of white residents surveyed as part of the 20th annual Community Assessment Project said they were “very satisfied” with their quality of life. However, just half of the county’s Latinos said the same about their well-being.

Sponsored by United Way and several other groups, the report captures a snapshot of the quality of life in the county. It was released Monday at an event well attended by nonprofit and local government leaders, who use the report to tailor services to meet the county’s needs.


To view the 2014 Community Assessment Project

The full report will be posted at

Data from the report highlights the disparities between the county’s whites and Latinos in jobs, health, housing and education. Latinos are more likely to forgo basic necessities than their white neighbors.

“Latinos are twice as likely to go without food and 10 times as likely to go without rent or housing or utilities,” said MariaElena De La Garza, executive director of the Community Action Board.

Regular access to health care is a struggle for more than three-quarters of the Latino community, versus 92 percent of whites.


“We have to make sure there are services where they need them and where they live,” said Lisa Hernandez, health officer and medical services director at the county’s Health Services Agency.

While more of the county’s residents have health insurance, fewer people have dental coverage.

Children in the county also have lower rates of immunizations than the rest of the state, and residents are pretty good at eating fruits and vegetables, but also “pretty good at eating junk food,” Hernandez said.

The report also showed unemployment continues to decline and the median family income is rising.