education Blog

What We Learned From Oakland Families

The Kenneth Rainin Foundation is always eager to better understand how we can support the dreams that Oakland families have for their children. And, we thought the best way to learn would be to ask them questions about their experiences and needs.

The Foundation partnered with NORC, an independent research institution at the University of Chicago, to complete an extensive, first-of-its-kind survey of Oakland parents. Families were willing and happy to talk—97% agreed to be surveyed and over 400 household interviews were conducted with families who have children up to age six.

We want to share what we learned and have it be a resource to other organizations who are also working to support Oakland’s children and parents. This survey gathered information about the following:

  • Family Demographics
  • Child Development
  • Parent Well-Being
  • Technology and Communication
  • Neighborhood Engagement

Three Interesting Findings

  1. There’s a huge opportunity for parents, teachers and community members to help young children build vocabulary. Supporting caring adult-child interactions continues to be one of the biggest levers for school readiness, and later reading success.
  2. Families make great use of Oakland Public Library services, but struggle to access services for special needs.
  3. Many families have access to a smartphone and have internet access in the home. The primary method of communication for most families is text or phone.

Dive Deeper into the Data on Oakland Families

Explore the interactive reports and learn about the attitudes, habits and lifestyles of households with children 0-5 years of age. Plus, you’ll be able to see how one neighborhood compares to others. Households were within the attendance boundaries of these Oakland elementary schools:

Oakland Families, Household Survey

The Rainin Foundation is grateful to Oakland families for their participation in our survey. We also appreciate our local partners for helping us share this research with the community of Oakland practitioners, educators, funders and community advocates. If you have questions about the data, please contact us at

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