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Priority Population Investments


Certain populations are especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.  At least 35 percent of California Climate Investments must benefit these populations, which include disadvantaged communities, low-income communities, and low-income households, also known as “priority populations.”

Investment Minimums and Requirements

To count a project toward the investment minimums, administering agencies must show that a project provides direct, meaningful, and assured benefits and meets an important community need by using Benefit Criteria Tables developed by the California Air Resources Board (CARB).  The Funding Guidelines include other requirements and guidance for targeting investments to priority populations.

Projects selected after August 2017 must follow the 2018 Funding Guidelines.  Projects selected before August 2017 may refer to the 2015 Funding Guidelines and the Funding Guidelines Supplement.

Priority Populations

Disadvantaged communities are identified by the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA)* as the top 25% most impacted census tracts in CalEnviroScreen 3.0 - a screening tool used to help identify communities disproportionally burdened by multiple sources of pollution and with population characteristics that make them more sensitive to pollution.

Low-income communities and households are defined as the census tracts and households, respectively, that are either at or below 80 percent of the statewide median income, or at or below the threshold designated as low-income by the California Department of Housing and Community Development's (HCD) 2016 State Income Limits.**

*Disadvantaged community designations per Senate Bill (SB) 535 (De León, Chapter 830, Statutes of 2012)
**Low-income definitions per Assembly Bill (AB) 1550 (Gomez, Chapter 369, Statutes of 2016)


Priority Population Maps

This map shows disadvantaged communities and low-income communities as defined for California Climate Investments.

To see if a particular location is within a disadvantaged community or low-income community, either navigate to the desired location on the map, or search for the location in the search bar.

For full screen click: here.
Download data: Geodatabase, Kmz, or Excel (1.3mb).
Methodology for identifying low-income community census tracts under AB 1550 is available here.

Low-income Households

Use this tool to see the low-income threshold by county and household size. The list of income thresholds designated as low-income by HCD is available here.


Select Low-income Definition:

Select County:

Select Household Size:

Public Workshops

In August and September 2014, CalEPA and CARB conducted public workshops to discuss the investment of Auction Proceeds in disadvantaged communities, the identification of disadvantaged communities, and the criteria for determining benefits to disadvantaged communities in accordance with SB 535.

Additional Resources

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