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A combination of publicly available data sources, local government documents, online GIS databases, and interviews with key informants was used to identify each of these types of communities for all the eight counties in the San Joaquin Valley. Together, all of the communities identified constitute our Communities of Interest” and are what make up the total counts of unincorporated communities for each county and the Valley as whole that we have identified to date in Table 2. below.

b. Identifying Fringe and Hinterland Communities Using Census Data Data from the 2000 Census offered the primary means for identifying most of the fringe and hinterland unincorporated communities analyzed in this report. As part of the 2000 Census, the U.S. Census Bureau collected data on unincorporated communities that it identified in partnership with local county governments. Known as Census Designated Places, or CDPs, these communities can range widely in population size. Although 2000 Census data is now more than eight years old, it is the only publicly- available data source with demographic and housing information specific to these communities.

c. Filtering Census-Designated Places to Identify Colonias Some unincorporated communities have residents with high incomes and expensive homes. To focus our research on communities that are most likely to face the infrastructure and service deficits of interest in this report, it was necessary to filter the complete list of 122 Census Designated Places in the San Joaquin Valley based upon a number of key characteristics.

In order to filter out more affluent CDPs from those that are less affluent, a simple index using five indicators developed from 2000 Census data was used. On each indicator, all CDPs were compared to their counties using the following questions:

  • 1.

    Poverty: Is the CDP poverty level higher than the county?

  • 2.

    Median Income: Is the CDP median household income lower than the county?

  • 3.

    Home Value: Is the CDP median home value lower than the county?

  • 4.

    Age of Housing Stock: Is the median year that CDP housing was built earlier than the median for the county?

  • 5.

    Proportion of Mobile Homes: Is the percentage of CDP housing that is mobile homes higher than the percentage for the county?

Each CDP was assigned a score based upon how many answers to these questions were “yes” versus “no”. Only those CDPs with three or more “yes” responses are included in our Communities of Interest (COIs) and analyzed in this report. After applying these criteria, we were left with 83 CDPs that


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