A Portrait of California 2021–2022: Human Development and Housing Justice, the third volume in Measure of America’s Portrait of California series, takes a human development approach to understanding the country’s most populous and diverse state. Using the American Human Development Index (HDI), it presents a detailed picture of how Californians are doing on three key dimensions of well-being—a long and healthy life, access to knowledge, and a decent standard of living. In addition to an in-depth survey of well-being levels across the state, this volume in the Portrait of California series focuses on a central prerequisite to a good life, one that far too many Californians struggle to attain: access to safe and secure housing. The Covid-19 pandemic dramatically underscored the importance of stable, affordable housing when it comes to access to education, living standards, and health. A Portrait of California 2021–2022: Human Development and Housing Justice explores the impact of California’s housing crisis on all three components of the index and outlines policies that can help the state address homelessness and housing insecurity to ensure that all Californians have a safe place to call home.
This report presents HDI scores for the state overall as well as by gender, by race and ethnicity, by nativity, by metro area, and by neighborhood cluster. In addition to providing HDI scores for various groups and geographies, it also delves deeper into the underlying causes of the gaps in well-being between them—structural racism, discrimination, sky-high housing costs, among others—and offers recommendations for addressing these challenges and building a fairer future for the Golden State, one in which every Californian can lead a freely chosen life of value.