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Lake County, CA

Lake County, incorporated in 1861, was carved out of portions of Napa, Mendocino, and Colusa counties, with Lakeport as the county seat. The county’s most prominent geographical feature is 68-square-mile Clear Lake, which has approximately 100 miles of shoreline. The county enjoys the cleanest air in the state, an active local food movement, and a highly connected community.

The county’s economy has always relied on agriculture and tourism. These industries’ dual challenges of seasonal employment and relatively low pay contribute to high rates of poverty. Currently, self-employed individuals make up almost 38% of the total workforce. The largest employers are the health care system and local government, including schools.

The county consistently ranks as one of the least healthy counties in California. In addition to poverty, issues depressing the health and well-being of residents include drug and alcohol misuse, food and housing insecurity, limited educational and employment opportunities, transportation access, and blight.

In the summers of 2015 and 2018, Lake County suffered devastating wildfires; the cumulative damage includes more than 171,000 acres of burned land, the loss of more than 1,300 homes, and damage to dozens of commercial properties.

The Work

Long-Term Shared Goals

Wellville advisor Christina Koukkos supports the work in Lake County, which is a California Accountable Communities for Health Initiative (CACHI) community. 

Our primary partner is Hope Rising, a multisector collaborative of local health systems, county leaders, nonprofits and other organizations engaged in improving residents’ health and wellbeing.

Hope Rising focuses on projects and initiatives determined by the Community Health Needs Assessment, a collaborative process by two local healthcare systems and the county’s Department of Public Health, and for which Hope Rising serves as the community liaison.

Marvin presenting to the Hope Rising board
Marvin presenting to the Hope Rising board
Lake County Wellville team at the 2019 Gathering
Lake County Wellville team at the 2019 Gathering

Current Initiatives

Homelessness and housing: Hope Rising operates The Hope Center, a transitional housing facility that provides individualized services for those experiencing homelessness.

Substance misuse treatment and prevention: The SafeRx program works to reduce the harm of the opioid crisis in Lake County. The program provides education about opioids, including how to reduce stigmas associated with substance misuse. It also works directly with the community by offering free training on the use of Narcan/Naloxone.

Early childhood support: Smart Start Bright Future is a a four-pillar plan that supports youth from cradle to career. Its purpose is to help break generational poverty and poor health.

Youth leadership: All Children Thrive is a program that engages youth in leadership and policy change in the City of Lakeport.

Our Stories


Close the gap: Racial equity is fundamental to our health

There is so much in our hearts and minds following these tumultuous past few months and intense past few days. This is a moment to consider the causes of the consequences that are now on full display. It’s time to call out what led to such health disparities and what will it take to improve outcomes for all.

Read More »
Man presenting to a medium size group of people

All Hands on Deck

When Covid-19 hit the US, we asked ourselves: Now that everyone is just trying to stay alive and save jobs, is Wellville just a distraction? We can’t just preach about the long term and what people want to achieve by the end of the Wellville project while they are busy responding to the short term. Instead, we tried a different question: How can we build a better long-term future even as we address current needs?

Read More »

By the Numbers

The data below represent an overall picture of health and wellbeing in Lake County, CA – a realtime snapshot, if you will. For data that’s tied to the specific work we’re doing, see above and in the stories we share. 


Population: 64,386

No Data Found

Land area (sq. mi):1,256.46 mi2
Median age: 44.5

Social and Economic Indicators

Median household income

No Data Found

2019 data

Poverty rate

No Data Found

2019 data

High school graduation rate

No Data Found

2015-2019 data

Severe housing problems*

No Data Found

*Percentage of households with at least 1 of 4 housing problems: overcrowding, high housing costs, lack of kitchen facilities, or lack of plumbing facilities (2013-2017)

Health Behaviors and Outcomes

Adult obesity

No Data Found

2017 data

Adult smoking

No Data Found

2018 data

Year of potential life lost*

No Data Found

* Years of potential life lost before age 75 per 100,000 population. Data covers 2017-2019

Health Care


No Data Found

* Persons under the age 65 (2019 data)

Per capita Medicare spending

No Data Found

* As a percentage of insured; does not include uninsured. Data from 2019.

Insurance sources

No Data Found

2019 data