What is the Central Coast Regional Equity Study (RES)?

The Central Coast Regional Equity Study, titled Towards a Just and Equitable Central Coast, is an examination of historical and contemporary inequities in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties. The study is a collaboration between the UCSB Blum Center on Poverty, Inequality, and Democracy, The Fund for Santa Barbara, and the USC Equity Research Institute. You can read the report here.

What is the Regional Equity Initiative?

The Regional Equity Initiative is an ongoing collaboration between the UCSB Blum Center and The Fund for Santa Barbara. Our goal is to deepen our understanding of regional disparities, facilitate a region-wide conversation, and support the planning and implementation of initiatives focused on advancing social, health, environmental, and economic equity.

Why study Santa Barbara & Ventura Counties?

Along with San Luis Obispo County to the north, Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties make up the original unceded territory of the various bands of Chumash peoples. In addition to this indigenous heritage, the two counties are joined by a long history of shared experience and socioeconomic interdependence that sets the stage for a broadly encompassing conversation around justice and equity as values critical to the region’s future vitality. Together the two counties constitute a major hub in the broader regional, state, and national economy. They are also undergoing tremendous demographic and economic change, marked by racial and ethnic diversification and steeply rising inequality.

How did community consultations inform the Regional Equity Study?

In keeping with our commitment to actionable data and community-engaged research, the research team conducted 16 community consultations, held virtually with groups of community stakeholders between August 2020 and March 2021. Eight were general discussion sessions and eight were issue-specific, covering K-12 education, public higher education, racial justice, housing and houselessness, access to public health, small business, climate justice, and criminal justice. While these consultations were not designed to be a representative sample of the Central Coast, they nevertheless provided the Equity Study with valuable guidance in its early stages and will provide the basis for ongoing community engagement and organizing following the Equity Study’s release.

How were quantitative data collected for the Regional Equity Study?

Most of the quantitative data presented in Towards a Just and Equitable Central Coast reflect five-year census data from 2013-2018. Historical census data is also presented. More recent data on the COVID-19 pandemic are provided by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the Ventura County/Santa Barbara County/California Departments of Public Health. Additional data were also provided by the National Equity Atlas, the California Dept. of Justice, the California Dept. of Finance, the California Dept. of Education, CalEnviroScreen, Political Data, Inc., the USC Center for Inclusive Democracy, and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

What is next for the Regional Equity Initiative?

In 2022, the Regional Equity Initiative will be holding workshops, collaborating with community organizations, preparing policy briefs on additional issue areas, and hosting community discussions on critical regional equity issues. A schedule of upcoming events can be found on the Events page. If you have an idea for an event or would like to collaborate with the Regional Equity Initiative, please contact us.

I am a community organization. How can I utilize the Regional Equity Study?

One of our main goals is to make the Regional Equity Study a relevant and useful tool for community organizations and activists. We encourage you to use the data presented in the RES to motivate your work, engage with policymakers, and attract funding. If your organization is interested in partnering with the Regional Equity Initiative on research, community outreach, or workshops, please contact us.

I am a researcher. How can I partner with the Regional Equity Initiative?

The Regional Equity Initiative is excited to collaborate with researchers who share our goal of advancing equity in the Central Coast. We welcome inquiries about joint research, workshops, or the data presented in the Regional Equity Study. For further information, please contact us.

I am a journalist or media outlet. How can I learn more about the Regional Equity Initiative?

The Regional Equity Initiative is a public-facing project, and we welcome media engagement. Members of the Initiative are available for interviews and quotes. We are also happy to answer any questions you may have about our work. For all media inquiries, please contact us.

I care about these issues. How can I get involved?

Thank you for your commitment to equity in the Central Coast! We encourage you to attend one of our upcoming events. In addition, we encourage you to share this webpage and the Central Coast Regional Equity Study with your elected representatives, community organizations, and other concerned individuals.