Last month, Orange County published the 2016 Community Indicators Report gauging the health and wellbeing of the residents in our community. The report was released during an Orange County Forum luncheon with a focus on the three main Pivot Points that impact our community: the state of housing, the opportunity and skills gap and the health and wellbeing of local children.
Key findings from the report include:
Signs of Progress
- The high school dropout rate decreased from 6.7% (3,000 students) to 5.7% (2,311 students), with the highest dropout rates remaining in Anaheim, Santa Ana and Garden Grove
- Family financial instability is down slightly year over year with the most recent drop from 41% to 37%
- Childhood homelessness and housing instability went down from 6.1% (32,000 total children homeless or unstably housed) to 5.2% (26,000)
- Housing is still not affordable for most OC families (43%) and its availability is challenged by community opposition and financial constraints
- Childhood obesity and overweight rates have remained constant at 33%
- 22% of OC residents live in poverty
While the 70-page data-rich report shows we as a County are making strides in the right direction towards overall community conditions, a significant portion of our county’s 3.2 million population continues to struggle.
“We are not talking about people that are layabouts,” said Max Gardner, president and CEO of Orange County United Way. “These individuals are the working poor, who can’t support themselves on the wages they are making in the County today.” United Way’s 10-year communitywide action plan, FACE 2024, is focused on improving access to a quality education, financial stability, good health and secure housing.
Lucy Dunn, president and CEO of the Orange County Business Council added, “If we don’t take care of the continuum of our people from the youngest to the oldest, this is not a healthy economy. Orange County risks losing the greatness and uniqueness that is ours.”
Access a full copy of the 2016 Community Indicators Report.