Postsecondary to Prosperity: Expanding Opportunity Across the Bay Area

Despite High Employment Rates, Disparities Persist in the Bay Area

With more than 8 million residents, the Bay Area is home to nearly a quarter of California’s population, as well as 26 California community colleges, five California State University (CSU) campuses, and two University of California (UC) undergraduate campuses. The new California Postsecondary to Prosperity Dashboard, a powerful tool developed by California Competes, shows which Bay Area residents have access to institutions of higher education and what their degree attainment means for their futures.

The Dashboard breaks down critical insights into economic opportunity and mobility by race, location, and other demographics—and it’s clear that the Bay Area is unique on many counts. Bachelor’s degree attainment is 49 percent higher than the state average, and the region’s overall employment rate and ability to earn a living wage surpass the state average. Yet racial disparities remain, especially for Native American and Alaska Native residents—trends that California must remedy.


  • The region has a 96 percent employment rate, yet many workers don’t earn a living wage; among Black, Latinx, and Native American or Alaska Native residents, less than half of workers do.
  • Access to higher education varies by more than race in this region—just 32 percent of foster youth enroll in college shortly after high school, compared with the Bay Area average of 72 percent.
  • Bay Area residents who are white, Pacific Islander, or Asian own homes at nearly twice the rate (60–63 percent) of Black, Latinx, or Native American and Alaska Native residents (26–38 percent).

To learn more, explore the California Postsecondary to Prosperity Dashboard.

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