The Sacramento Capital Region can prosper and achieve its full potential only if it drastically improves education, health, civic participation and job opportunities for the region’s young people, according to a UC Davis study commissioned by the Sierra Health Foundation.

Click here to read the study. “Healthy Youth/Healthy Regions” is the first in the nation to examine youth health and well-being on a regional scale and across multiple issues, said study leader Jonathan London, a professor of human and community development and director of the UC Davis Center for Regional Change.
The study was released July 14, 2011 during a presentation to community leaders and media at the Sierra Health Foundation office in Sacramento.
The two-year research project was funded by the Sierra Health Foundation with additional support from The California Endowment.
“The message we heard over and over again in this research is that there is no greater challenge and no greater potential opportunity for the Capital Region than coming together to care for our young people and for young people themselves to play leadership roles in this effort,” London said.
The report focused on young people ages 12 to 24 in Amador, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, Solano, Sutter, Yolo and Yuba counties.
It documents disparities in resources and opportunities available to the region’s youth based on their geographic location, socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, immigration status and other factors, and offers a startling set of youth statistics for the region:
Graduation rates
  • Of the approximately 41,000 students who entered ninth grade in 2004, only 66 percent graduated in four years.
  • In 2008, 9,000 students in the region left high school without graduating, increasing costs for services to support these youth and decreasing their potential earning power.
  • The estimated lifetime cost for just one year’s high school dropouts in the Capital Region totals $480 million for state and local governments, and more than $1 billion for the federal government.
  • Cutting the region’s drop-out rate in half would yield $1.5 billion in savings to state and local governments.
  • Only 28 percent of Latino students and 31 percent of African-American students attend schools with high or very high graduation rates (schools in the region ranked in the top 40 percent for graduation rates).This contrasts with 57 percent for white students and 38 percent for Asian/Pacific Islander students.