Measuring the Gap

Impact Monterey County 2020 Report Assesses Key

Monterey County Indicators

Youth across the Monterey Bay region, and their parents, have big dreams and career aspirations: According to a recently released report from Impact Monterey County, the vast majority of youth participants responding to a survey — 84 percent of students ages 16-18 want to continue their education beyond high school — and 87 of parents, representing all geographic, socioeconomic, and racial groups, said they want their kids to obtain at least a bachelor’s degree.

“We see these aspirations as reflecting a broad awareness of what it takes to achieve financial and professional success in today’s economy,” reads the report. “Yet despite these ambitions, only 71% of county residents 25 and older have a high school diploma or higher and only 37% of high school graduates countywide complete a career certificate or college degree.”

Another common thread was an interest in expanded opportunities for vocational training and other educational alternatives that create career pathways for higher-paying jobs. This interest appears to be corroborated by countywide data on one- to two-year postsecondary certification programs, which saw 40% more graduations in 2017-’18 than in 2015-’16.

And while the lack of quality, affordable child care was an issue for parents across the socioeconomic spectrum even before COVID-19, the pandemic has pushed it to crisis level as families struggle to deal with temporary closures and restrictions on the number of children that open child care centers can serve.

At the same time, existing racial and socioeconomic gaps are being widened by distance learning, according to early research, and many students are falling significantly behind. 


The report is the result of more than 3,500 Monterey County residents who shared their opinions and aspirations through the 2019 Impact Monterey County Community Assessment through adult and youth surveys, key informant interviews, and community conversations. The assessment focused on issues that shape the everyday lives of residents, their goals and aspirations for four domains: health, safety, education, and economic self-sufficiency. 

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the report was adapted to better address evolving community needs in hopes of providing a strategic tool to guide future recovery efforts.

Originating in 2014 through United Way Monterey County, Impact Monterey County is now a collaborative effort of nonprofits, public agencies, and the community working together to identify and align the most effective ways to improve life in the county.

Read the full report, “Together, a Healthy, Safe, Thriving Monterey County: 2020 Report to the Community”