Community Context and Challenges

  • When the housing bubble burst in 2008, Stockton experienced one of the most extreme housing collapses in the nation, leading to the city declaring bankruptcy in 2012.

  • Many low-income residents cannot afford home ownership at all, or even the opportunity to live in housing that is not substandard, as numerous houses are affected by blight, code violations, and disrepair.

  • Currently, more than 16% of Stockton residents are unemployed, compared with 11% in the state and 9% nationally.

  • Crime, poverty, and lack of city services have long plagued South Stockton; the city’s violent crime rates are dramatically higher than the state’s and fewer than 63% of adults say they always feel safe in their neighborhoods.

  • City-level health data is limited, but San Joaquin County—of which Stockton comprises 42%—performs worse than the state and the nation on nearly all health indicators.

Community Actions: A First Look

Community volunteers and government officials in Stockton are collaborating to address poverty and revitalize the city’s most vulnerable neighborhoods.

With input from stakeholders in government, education, healthcare, and faith-based organizations, as well as from residents of all ages, new coalitions and projects have emerged to address high priority community health needs.


These baseline reports, created in 2016, track community programs and initiatives in their early stages and measure initial progress only. Future reports will provide more in-depth insights and analysis into this community's efforts to build a Culture of Health.

Going Forward: Questions for Consideration

Stockton is a community in flux, working to redefine itself yet facing significant challenges and barriers in its efforts to address decades of residents facing poverty, limited educational and employment opportunities, and violence. Additional surveillance, data, and information gathering will examine how initiatives to revitalize and rebuild this community are impacting the economic and social inequities many Stockton residents face and, in turn, how these affect health and well-being outcomes.

Ongoing questions include the following:

  • To what extent have the investments in Stockton’s police department shown success in reducing gang activity and the rate of violent crimes? How have community engagement strategies enhanced traditional policing practices?

  • How will stakeholders, including those in the RSSC, engage and empower Stockton residents from the most troubled areas to take back their communities from gangs and those that wish to control residents through fear and intimidation?

  • Which efforts are showing the greatest success in breaking the cycle of poverty and low educational attainment? Why are these efforts effective, and how are they engaging residents and community-based organizations?

  • What impact will the “super commuters,” who spend more hours away from Stockton than at home, have on the city? What approaches can leaders take to build a sense of community with these residents?

  • What role are faith-based organizations and schools playing in engaging youth and addressing root causes of crime and poverty?