Learn more about the regions and communities we listened to.


We chose a diverse and representative selection of California regions and communities to hold the Community Listening Sessions.

We focused our efforts on reaching communities where families who are working but struggling economically are concentrated: 90 percent of these 1.5 million California families live in 20 counties, many of which are located in the regions we visited. 

In addition, the six regions were selected based on a number of considerations: urban and rural geographies, varying industries, ethnicities, languages spoken, and our connections to community leaders who helped bring community members together to share their stories.


the regions


Bay area

Communities engaged:

  • San Francisco Asian immigrant populations
  • African American communities in Oakland

Central coast

Communities engaged:

  • Youth from agricultural worker families
  • Adults in the agriculture industry

San Joaquin Valley*

Communities engaged:

  • Diverse mix of American-born Fresno natives
  • Latino immigrant community

Los Angeles

Communities engaged:

  • Youth in south Los Angeles

  • Service workers in downtown Los Angeles


SAN bernardino and riverside*

Communities engaged:

  • Agriculture industry families in eastern Coachella Valley
  • Warehouse worker families in Ontario

San Diego and Imperial County

Communities engaged:

  • Rural agricultural workers in a border town
  • Diverse immigrant population in City Heights
Source: The U.S. Census,  Public Policy Institute of California , Monitor Institute analysis 2012-2014

Source: The U.S. Census, Public Policy Institute of California, Monitor Institute analysis 2012-2014


* Indicates priority regions of The James Irvine Foundation, which are traditionally underserved by philanthropy, experiencing major demographic shifts and rapid population growth, and have low-income Californians residing in disproportionate numbers.