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Reading List: Understanding Greater Fresno’s Context: Central Valley Conditions and Trends

To better understand the unique economic and social context in which Fresno sits, we have provided several readings about the conditions and trends of the Central Valley.


Recent feature articles on the Central Valley’s economic condition


**Doyle, M. (2008, July 16). Worse than Appalachia: Valley congressional district ranks last nationwide on study’s scorecard of well-being. Fresno Bee Washington Bureau. Available at


**Sheehan, T. (2009, Feb. 2). Will Valley unemployment reach level of early ‘90s? The Fresno Bee. Available at


Ginis, K. (2008, August 11). Fresno poverty numbers improve: Study shows drop in concentration of working poor between 1999, 2005. The Fresno Bee. Available at


Jimenez, E. (2008, August 11). Study looks at health of farmworkers: MICASA follows everything from aches to diabetes in laborers. The Fresno Bee. Available at


Streitfeld, D. (2008, August 24). In the Central Valley, the Ruins of the Housing Bust. New York Times. Available at


Anderson, B. & Shulyakovskaya, N. (2009, February 14). Central Valley hard-hit by diabetes epidemic. The Fresno Bee and Center for California Health Care Journalism. Available at


The Great Valley Center. (2008, October). The State of the Great Central Valley – Education and Youth Preparedness. Assessing the Region Via Indicators (Second Edition). Modesto, CA: Author. Available at


This report by the Great Valley Center summarizes the conditions for youth and education in the Central Valley by presenting data on a series of indicators across four areas: family and home life, poverty and children, education, and child health. Based on the data provided, the Center makes five recommendations: invest in early childhood, create links from preschool through postsecondary education, capitalize on the momentum surrounding the high school dropout issue, reduce poverty, and know the needs of rural communities.


The Great Valley Center. (2005, January). The State of the Great Central Valley – The Economy. Assessing the Region Via Indicators 1999-2004 Modesto, CA: Author. (selected pages). Available at


This report by the Great Valley Center is part of "The State of the Great Central Valley" series and presents economic data on indicators related to population, income, and housing; business vitality; agriculture; transportation; and Federal and nonprofit spending. We have included the summary pages for each of these categories and the series of recommendations the Center made based on the indicators.


Baldassare, M. (2006, June). Press Release from PPIC Statewide Survey June 2006; Special Survey of the Central Valley in collaboration with the Great Valley Center. San Francisco, CA: Public Policy Institute of California. Available at


This press release summarizes the findings from a full report by the Public Policy Institute of California and the Great Valley Center on the Central Valley Survey, administered in spring 2006. The survey addressed local, regional, and Central Valley issues; governance, planning, and policy preferences; economic, environmental, and social attitudes; and trends in attitudes over time and across subregions of the Central Valley. Among other findings, the release reports increasing concerns about air quality and related health issues, traffic congestion, loss of local farmland, and affordable housing. However, respondents reported liking their communities and were relatively upbeat about the region’s future.


**This document is considered a priority reading.