Report: California’s Next Billion Dollar Industry?
A Study of Public Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Spending in the Golden State
In recent years, the concept of critical race theory and its variants — often camouflaged as more generic “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI) activities — has entered the national spotlight and infiltrated publicly-funded entities. The State of California was no exception, and many of its public institutions seized the opportunity to expand their budgets and implement ultra- progressive policies often without public awareness. This analysis summarizes the results of nearly 400 California Public Records Act requests sent to state and local governments, as well as higher education institutions and K-12 school districts. The results are unmistakable: spending related to DEI and critical race theory-framed activities is a vast and growing component of taxpayer-funded spending at all levels of California government.
Nearly half of the entities produced documentation in response to our inquiry about DEI-related spending, staff, contracts, and other activities. In total, California public entities spent nearly half a billion dollars on DEI projects alone, with a majority of responses encapsulating FY2020 through FY2022. This disclosed spending is distributed throughout California’s public institutions. This analysis makes clear that the growth of DEI spending in the state of California has created its own industry, where demand comes from the pockets of taxpayer dollars and supply of DEI content comes from both internal policies and external, out-of-state parties that, in turn, contribute to progressive causes within the state. This report provides cautious estimates of DEI-relevant spending and accounts for the proportion of outstanding requests for records. This data indicates that so-called “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” is easily worth $1 billion in Golden State spending.