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General information

Unemployed individuals include individuals who are actively looking for work but are not employed (U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey and Puerto Rico Community Survey 2013 Subject Definitions). Individuals who are unemployed are more likely to have poor health related to chronic disease and mental health (Beland F, Birch S, Stoddart G. Unemployment and health: contextual level influences on the production of health in populations.Social Science and Medicine. 2002;2033-52.).

Key Findings

  • In San Mateo County, the unemployment rate in 2013 was 8%, lower than California’s rate of 12%.
  • The percent of unemployed residents over 16 years old was high in neighborhoods in Redwood City (14.8%) and East Palo Alto (15.5%)and low in neighborhoods in Woodside (1.9%).


  • Data were obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2009-2013 American Community Survey 5-year Estimates at American FactFinder.
  • Data were mapped using ArcGIS for Desktop.
  • Data are based on all individuals 16 years and over who are considered part of the labor force.


  • Approximately 295,000 households are selected to participate in the annual American Community Survey, or less than 1 percent of all households in the U.S.
  • Data were estimates based on survey responses, and not actual counts. 
  • Estimates have some chance of error.