First ever Latino report card issued for Silicon Valley

March 18, 2011 7:55:59 PM PDT
A new rating system released today presented below average marks to several key parts of the Hispanic community located in the Bay Area's Silicon Valley.

The Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley, a philanthropic organization based in San Jose, debuted its first-ever report card this morning that identified economic and social difficulties within Bay Area Hispanic communities.

Categories that received scores included education, health, financial stability, housing, and environmental sustainability. Grades were given on an A-through-F scale, with four of the five groups receiving a C or below.

"The report card has identified serious challenges that confront Latinos and threaten Silicon Valley's long-term prosperity," foundation CEO Ron Gonzales said in a letter that accompanied the report card.

Analysts used data collected from residents in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, and tallied up almost 640,000 Hispanic people living in that region.

The organization determined that the Hispanic community deserved a D for its performance in financial stability, partially because of the types of jobs Hispanics held. The highest percentage of working Hispanics in Silicon Valley work in the service industry, the report said.

Another contributing factor to the D grade was increasing unemployment between 2005 and 2009, according to the foundation's report, which used research collected from the U.S. Census Bureau in 2010.

The housing portion of the report card also received a D. Analysts determined that home ownership rates dropped among Hispanics by more than 8 percent in Santa Clara County between 2006 and 2009, and ownership rates declined more than 4 percent in San Mateo County over the same time period.

Moving up in scores, education among Silicon Valley Hispanics received a C grade on the report card.

A little more than 25 percent of the community has completed requirements to enter a University of California or California State University school, the report said.

Still, only about a third of Hispanic students are reading at their grade level in third grade and doing math at their grade level in eighth grade, but these numbers are gradually improving, according to the report.

The highest grade awarded in the report was a B to the health category. Latino residents of Silicon Valley have better health insurance coverage than they do statewide, the report said.

In addition, birth rates among teen mothers have dropped in Santa Clara County by more than 4 percent between 2005 and 2009, and rates have dropped by more than 7 percent in San Mateo County over the same time period.

The Hispanic Foundation convened an advisory board to determine the grades of each area listed on the report card, which incorporated findings from the census bureau, the state Health Interview Survey and Department of Education.

The report card debuted at the San Jose Convention Center this morning. More than 300 business owners and community leaders attended the event, which cost each attendee $50 per ticket, according to the foundation.

The money raised from the report card event will go toward the foundation's next phase of improving Silicon Valley's Hispanic community, which involves organization partners coming together and discussing ways to improve grades on the five areas in the coming year.

Load Comments