Postsecondary to Prosperity: Expanding Opportunity Across the San Joaquin Valley

Access to Education and Good Jobs Is Out of Reach for Many San Joaquin Valley Residents

Data compiled through the California Postsecondary to Prosperity Dashboard, a powerful information tool developed by California Competes, show how San Joaquin Valley residents access institutions of higher education—and how systemic barriers keep certain populations from reaching their future potential. Home to 11 percent of Californians, the region is made up of eight counties and more than 4.2 million people. It also boasts 14 community colleges (the fourteenth was added in July 2020), ­three California State University campuses, and one University of California campus.

Breaking down critical insights into economic opportunity and mobility by race and ethnicity, gender, income, and more, it’s clear the San Joaquin Valley’s relatively low employment rate and opportunity to earn a living wage impact some groups more than others. Despite this, more students in the region meet admission eligibility requirements than public college campuses can admit, and fewer than two-thirds of high school students go directly to college.


  • Associate’s degree attainment matches the statewide average, but bachelor’s degree attainment is nearly half the statewide average with dramatic differences by race and ethnicity. For example, just 8 percent of Latinx residents hold a bachelor’s degree compared with 32 percent of Asian residents.
  • Employment alone also does not necessarily secure residents’ well-being or ability to build wealth through homeownership. Asian residents, for instance, have an employment rate of 94 percent, but only 62 percent earn a living wage, and just 59 percent own a home.
  • Communities in the San Joaquin Valley are much more likely than communities in other regions to lack a doctor, dentist, or bank. For example, 53 percent of communities in the San Joaquin Valley lack a bank, compared with 29 percent of communities statewide.

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

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