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California Dream

Traffic sign of CA interstate 1 highway.

You became a Californian because someone in your family believed in a dream. A strong public education. The promise of a job. The weather. (Ahhh, the weather.) In its long history, the California Dream has meant different things to different people. Today, the state’s identity is in marked contrast to the rest of the country. The dream may still be alive, but it’s challenged at every corner.

What does it mean today?

KPBS and mission-driven media organizations around the state will explore the California Dream starting this year. Reporters and producers will tell the personal stories and discuss the ideas that make up the history, future and current state of the California Dream.

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California Farmworkers Face Slow Climb To Upward Mobility

March 30
Julia Mitric/Capital Public Radio Julia Mitric/Capital Public Radio

Today, 90 percent of California’s farmworkers hail from Mexico and half that population lack documents for legal residence, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s National Agricultural Workers Survey.

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Thousands Of College Hopefuls Could Leave California — And Never Come Back

March 23
Vanessa Rancano/KQED

High school seniors across the state are waiting on news that will shape the rest of their lives. This month they find out whether they are among the thousands being admitted to the University of California or California State University.

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Hey, UC Grads: Could You Get Into Your Alma Mater Today?

March 23
Adriene Hill/KQED

It’s the 150th anniversary of the University of California system. UC promises a space for California students who are in the top 9 percent of high school graduates — but many are unable to get into their schools of choice. We take a look at the ever-toughening standards at UCLA.

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How California Went From Anti-Immigration To ‘Sanctuary State’

March 19
Farida Jhabvala Romero/KQED

The current debate over immigration policies in the state has a striking resemblance to the experience of many people who fought the approval of Prop. 187, which sought to stem the influx of undocumented immigrants and their access to publicly funded services.

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Where You Grow Up May Affect How Well You Climb The Income Ladder

March 16
By Amita Sharma

Stanford University economist Raj Chetty says childhood environment can determine social mobility for adults.

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California’s Middle Class Is In Decline, Despite The State’s Immense Wealth

March 15
By Amita Sharma

California’s $2.75 trillion economy makes it the world’s sixth largest and is a source of pride for the state but that impressive ranking disguises an economic fault-line: The decline of the middle class.

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Risk Takers Still See Golden Opportunities In California

March 9
David Wagner/KPCC

A sawmill worker discovers gold along the American River near Sacramento in 1848. Soon more than 300,000 people rush to California, eager to take big risks in the hopes of getting rich quick.

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How The Home Of Reagan Turned Into The Trump Resistance

March 1
Ben Bradford/Capital Public Radio

With more than two dozen lawsuits against the federal administration and new laws designed to thwart federal immigration actions and environmental rollbacks, California has squarely established itself as the Democratic resistance to President Donald Trump.

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Digging Into The Data: How Attainable Is The California Dream Today?

Feb. 15
Matt Levin/CALMatters

No one has the exact same definition of the California dream. Ask the 39 million current Californians about what the dream should be, and aside from most of us agreeing that the daily temperature should dip no colder than the mid-50s, you’ll likely get 39 million very different answers.

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#CADream: What have you always wondered about the cost of living in California?

Feb. 14

Whether you’re looking for advice on where a family of four can afford to live in California, we want to know your questions about the costs of living in California. We’ll work to answer them as part of our ongoing California Dream collaboration.

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Statewide Public Media Collaboration 'California Dream' Launches With Call-In Show

Feb. 12
By KPBS News and KQED

California Dream is a new, statewide collaboration focused on key issues of economic opportunity, quality of life and the future of the “California Dream.” The project will launch Feb. 15 with a special statewide call-in show.

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