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Silicon Valley Earns High Marks In Well-Being Study

SAN JOSE (KCBS) – A new study says Silicon Valley has the highest level of well-being in America, while depressed parts of the San Joaquin Valley have the lowest. The "Portrait of California," constructed by the American Human Development Project, measures well-being and access to opportunity, based on level of education, income and life expectancy.

KCBS' Doug Sovern Reports:

"The top neighborhood group was in Santa Clara County, specifically Los Altos, Mountain View and Palo Alto areas," said report co-author Kristen Lewis.

It combines those three cities with Cupertino, Saratoga and Los Gatos to create what Lewis calls "Silicon Valley Shangri-La."

If it were its own state, the Bay Area would be number one in the nation as far as well-being. At the other end of the spectrum, inner city Los Angeles, and the rural Central Valley rank the lowest.

Lewis found that foreign-born Californians live four years longer than natives, partially because people in other countries have better health habits than Americans do.

"They smoke at a lower rate, they do binge drinking less, and they overall have a healthier diet," said Lewis.

Overall, California's life expectancy is 80 years, which is 18 months longer than the national average.

"In reality, California is a fabulous state," said Lewis. "It has tons going for it. It has some of the highest levels of well-being in the whole world, and there's a lot to be learned about what works from what's going on in California right now."

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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