Patt Morrison for May 24, 2011

Rating California (for the first time). Are we special, or just adequate?

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ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

A guest leaves her car with the valet as she and her dog arrive at the Buddha Bark WonderPark luxury wellness suite at Chaz Dean Studio & Zen Garden in Los Angeles.

Have you ever speculated about whether the quality of life is better in San Francisco or Los Angeles? Well now we have some empirical evidence (not based solely on who won the World Series) that gives Northern California bragging rights. A first-ever study called A Portrait of California conducted by the American Human Development Project took a close look at well-being and access to opportunity in the Golden State and ranked cities based on issues like health, education and standard of living. The results? San Francisco scored a 6.97, Los Angeles a 5.52 and the Silicon Valley was the big winner earning a 9.35. The study notes that some residents in California are so far ahead of the other states in the nation that they won't catch up until 2060, while others are experiencing "health, education and earnings levels that characterized the U.S. in the 1960s." California's can expect to live a longer life than those living in other states in the nation, but "100 of California's nearly 2,500 high schools account for nearly half of the state's dropouts" and "men earn more than women in every racial and ethnic group." What does the evidence show about your city?

Guests:

Sarah Burd-Sharps, co-director of the American Human Development Project and co-author of A Portrait of California

Elise Buik, president and CEO of The United Way of Greater Los Angeles


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