3 in 10 working-age San Diego County households can’t afford basic costs of living

by on September 3, 2010 · 0 comments

in Civil Rights, Culture, Economy, San Diego

San_Diego-Tijuana_Metro_3D_MapCenter for Policy Initiatives / September 2, 2010

Study shows 229,000 households in the red, including many with full-time jobs

Almost a third of working-age households in San Diego County have incomes below what they need to meet basic living expenses. Half of those struggling households include someone with a full-time job.

Making Ends Meet in San Diego County 2010 , a study released today by the Center on Policy Initiatives and United Way of San Diego County, measured local costs of housing, child care, food and other basic expenses to determine a bare-bones budget for families of various sizes.

The study found that 229,195 non-retired households in the county — 3 in 10 — earn less than that “self-sufficiency” level. That includes more than 180,000 households with at least one person working full-time or part-time, as well as the unemployed.

“Three in 10 of our neighbors are struggling to pay their basic bills without falling deeper in debt,” said Jason Everitt, CPI research and policy analyst. “The costs included in these family budgets leave no room for frills — when people have to scrimp on these things they are really suffering.”

Vicky Maheu, a community college teacher in San Diego for 28 years, has had her hours reduced because of the state budget cuts. She has started selling her books and other possessions online to supplement her part-time income. “Now I need to ask people I know if they have things I can sell,” she said. “I won’t ever be able to retire, the way things are going.”

The study found that a single person with no dependents needs a full-time job paying at least $13.13 an hour, or $27,733 a year, to meet basic expenses. A full-time worker making California’s minimum wage of $8 an hour earns only $16,896 in a year, and even that is higher than the official federal poverty level of $11,161.

For families with two working adults supporting children, costs such as child care and transportation go up, increasing the amount needed to get by.

The study is available in pamphlet form on CPI’s website, here . CPI is a San Diego research and advocacy center focused on the needs of working families.

Vicky Maheu of San Diego, José Paniagua of Chula Vista, and Seiko Sudo of Vista are available to tell their personal stories of the struggle to make ends meet. Contact Susan Duerksen at Susan@onlineCPI.org.

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