Sonoma Disadvantaged Communities

Disadvantaged communities have been identified across the state, region, and county using various criteria and geographies. Staff has prepared an online map that can be used to view disadvantaged communities in Sonoma County using the different identification criteria.

The following disadvantaged community designations are included in the online map:

  1. MTC Adopted Communities of Concern: MTC identified regional communities of concern (CoC) using demographic variables including ethnicity, income, English proficiency, senior population, disabled population, single-parent households, zero-vehicle households, and overburdened renters using Census Tract data from the 2005-2009 and 2010-2014 American Community Survey 5-Year Average. These CoCs were adopted as part of Plan Bay Area, and are currently being revised as part of the Plan Bay Area update that is underway. These areas have been used to prioritize One Bay Area Grant (OBAG) program funding.
  2. SCTA Defined Communities of Concern: SCTA defined communities of concern using poverty level[1] and a more detailed level of census geography. Using more detailed census block groups allowed more accuracy when identifying pockets of poverty in Sonoma County, especially in areas that are located in very large census tracts, or that are adjacent to very affluent areas. MTC accepted SCTA identified CoCs for the last OBAG funding cycle.
  3. 2017 Caltrans Active Transportation Program Disadvantaged Communities: Caltrans ATP grants are awarded in order to encourage increased use of active transportation modes. ATP applications are granted extra points if a project or program would serve a disadvantaged community. ATP defines disadvantaged communities using income, tribal lands, and proximity to disadvantaged schools[2].
  4. CalEnviroScreen 3 – SB 535 Disadvantaged Communities: Senate Bill 535 requires that at least 25% of Cap and Trade proceeds allocated through the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF) benefit disadvantaged communities and that at least 10% of these programs be located within these identified communities. CalEnviroScreen uses a combination of population characteristics and pollution exposure rates to identify the most disadvantaged communities in the state at the census tract level[3].

Portrait of Sonoma County Priority Places: Portrait of Sonoma County provides an in-depth look at the life expectancy, education, and income of county residents. These variables were combined into a single Human Development Index (HDI) which can be used to identify disadvantaged communities and disparities between Sonoma County neighborhoods. The 20 census tracts with the lowest HDI have been included in the online disadvantaged communities map.

[1] 30% of census block group households earning 200% or less of the federal poverty level

[2] 75% of students eligible to receive free or reduced meals

[3] CalEPA identified the 25% highest scoring CalEnviroScreen2 census tracts as disadvantaged communities.