10 key findings from the 2021 Portrait of Sonoma County

The 2021 Portrait of Sonoma County, a data-driven report that gauges the well-being of Sonoma County’s communities, contained a number of significant findings.

The report uses health, wealth and education data to better understand how specific racial, ethnic, gender or geographical groups fare in the region.

The Human Development Index, or HDI, is used to gauge well-being via a scale of 0 to 10, with 10 being the highest or best score.

Here are 10 crucial findings contained in the new report:

1. Sonoma County’s HDI score has increased to 6.19, up from 5.42 in 2014, when the first Portrait of Sonoma County was released.

2. The county’s HDI surpasses California’s HDI score of 5.85. The difference in scores indicates that local residents can expect to live about a year longer, earn more money and attain educational degrees at higher rates than other Californians in other parts of the state.

3. East Bennett Valley has the highest level of well-being in Sonoma County, earning a rating of 8.65. The neighborhood also placed first in 2014.

4. The Roseland neighborhood scored 3.46, the lowest in the county. A neighboring area, Roseland Creek, had the lowest HDI in 2014.

5. The differences between East Bennett Valley and Roseland translates to nearly a nine-year gap in life expectancy, a more than $48,000 difference in earnings, and a 47.9-percentage-point gap in bachelor’s degree attainment.

6. Among the largest racial and ethnic groups in Sonoma County, Black residents had the lowest HDI score in 2021.

7. Black residents in Sonoma County have a life expectancy of 71 years, which is 10 years shorter than any other racial or ethnic group in the county.

8. While 52% of all renters in Sonoma County use 30% or more of their income to pay rent, that average is higher in some minority communities — 59% of Latino renters and 68% of Black renters use 30% or more of their income to pay for housing.

9. Women in Sonoma County annually earn $11,500 less than men, though their life expectancy is four years longer and they are slightly more likely to have an undergraduate degree.

10. The annual cost of childcare and preschool in Sonoma County rose to $11,400, a 20% increase over a decade ago.

You can reach Staff Writer Nashelly Chavez at 707-521-5203 or On Twitter @nashellytweets.

Nashelly Chavez

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, The Press Democrat 

Who calls the North Bay home and how do their backgrounds, socioeconomic status and other factors shape their experiences? What cultures, traditions and religions are celebrated where we live? These are the questions that drive me as I cover diversity, equity and inclusion in Sonoma County and beyond.   


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