Spotlight on Del Norte County




This Spotlight on Del Norte County, part of the Regional Report Series associated with A Portrait of California 2021–2022, paints a picture of well-being and access to opportunity across Del Norte County today. The Spotlight is an extensive study of well-being across race, place, and gender in this county. Using the American Human Development Index (HDI), this report presents how Del Norte County residents are doing on three key dimensions of well-being—a long and healthy life, access to knowledge, and a decent standard of living. Broken down by race and ethnicity, by gender, and by census tract, the index shows how communities across Del Norte County are faring relative to one another and to the state and country as a whole. The report found that stark variation exists by place and by demographic group—resulting in significant inequalities regionwide.

The HDI is expressed on a scale from zero to ten, with ten indicating higher levels of well-being across health, education, and standard of living. Del Norte County as a whole scores 4.17, falling significantly below the California statewide score of 5.85. Of the three racial and ethnic groups for whom it is possible to calculate an HDI score, white (4.90 out of 10) Del Norte residents have the highest levels of well-being, followed closely by Latino (4.60), with Native American (2.38) residents scoring considerably lower. Due to the small population sizes of the Asian, Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander, and Black populations in Del Norte, HDI score calculations are not possible for these groups.

The range of HDI scores by census tract in Del Norte County runs from a high of 5.38 in Census Tract 2.02, which includes much of the western parts of Del Norte County and towns such as French Hill, Idlewild, and Douglas Park, to a low of 2.56 in Census Tract 1.01, comprising mostly southern Crescent City.



  • The average life expectancy for residents of Del Norte County is 78.3 years, 2.7 years shorter than the state average. A baby girl born today in Del Norte can expect to live 80.8 years, nearly 5 years longer than a baby boy (76.1 years).



  • Compared to the populations of California and the United States as a whole, adult residents of Del Norte are less likely to have earned high school diplomas and about half as likely to have earned bachelor’s degrees. While 79.7 percent of adults have at least a high school diploma, only 15.4 percent hold at least a bachelor’s degree and 5.9 percent hold a graduate degree
  • Compared to boys and young men, girls and young women ages 3 to 24 have notably higher rates of enrollment in Del Norte (76.2 percent of females ages 3 to 24 are enrolled compared to 69.6 percent of males), and women enjoy an edge across all educational outcomes



  • Median personal earnings in Del Norte are $30,200, about $9,700 less than in the state overall. Native American women have the lowest earnings of any race/gender combination in Del Norte County, $17,300. White men in Del Norte make more than double what Latina women earn: roughly $19,800 more. The gender gap between white men and white women comes out to $6,600 in annual earnings; the earnings gender gap between Latino men and women is $7,100 annually