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Workers in eight of nine Bay Area counties have more human capital — defined as  knowledge, skills and experience — than the statewide average. 

According to UCLA’s Anderson Forecast, which looks at state and national economies, Marin County leads the region with a human capital index of 171.9, which is ahead of San Francisco and Silicon Valley. The human capital index is based primarily on residents’ educational attainments.

Statewide, the human capital index is 144.48. Only Solano County was below the state average, at 140.8. 

Here’s how the counties ranked in 2017, the latest year for the index.1. Marin County — 171.92. San Francisco — 165.83. San Mateo County — 163.34. Santa Clara County — 163.15. Alameda County — 158.06. Contra Costa County — 154.47. Sonoma County — 150.38. Napa County — 147.39. Solano County — 140.8UCLA Anderson Forecast economist William Yu, who developed the index, said his ultimate goal was to tell people how important education is to their prosperity. 

The Bay Area, he said, “is on the top tier” of the index. 

The data show two metropolitan areas in the Bay Area were ranked in the top 20 in the nation in 2017. The San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward area was 19th with an index of 160.4 and the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara area was ranked 11th at 162.3. 

The Boulder, Colorado, metropolitan area scored the highest, at 176.5, among all metro areas in the country. 

Source: UCLA Anderson Forecast

Keith Burbank is currently a fulltime reporter covering Alameda County and Oakland news for Bay City News. He has also worked on the Data Points project for Local News Matters, finding trends and stories about the region through data. In 2019, he was a California Fellow at the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism, producing a series about homeless deaths in Santa Clara County. He worked as a swing shift editor for the newswire for several years as well. Outside of journalism, Keith enjoys computer programming, math, economics and music.