By Doug Porter
The Center for Policy Initiatives (CPI) released its annual number crunching report for San Diego yesterday based on 2012 Census data, and picture painted within isn’t pretty.
Despite media reports about how “things are getting better”, CPI’s data point to the reality that the economic recovery has passed by most households and employees in the San Diego region.
“People have less money to spend, even those working full-time,” said CPI Research Director Peter Brownell in a press release. “The wealthiest saw their incomes increase in 2012, but when we hear talk of economic recovery, it hasn’t reached most people in our region.”
Key findings cited by CPI include:
- While the top-earning 20% of households took in half of all income in the region, real median income for all households fell by $1,231 from the previous year.
- More than a quarter (28.4%) of all individuals working full-time, year-round earned less than $30,000, roughly the amount needed for a single person to live self-sufficiently in San Diego County. More than 123,000 full-time or part-time employees fell below the federal poverty level ($11,945 a year for an individual).
- The poverty rate in the county was virtually unchanged at 15% (from 15.1% in 2011), much higher than the pre-recession level of 11.1%. The rate of children living in poverty jumped to 19.8%.
- Besides children, groups hit hardest by poverty – with rates of 20% or higher – included African Americans, Latinos, and the cities ofEl Cajon, San Marcos and Escondido.
- More than 1 million San Diego County residents, a third of the population, lived in economic hardship, at or below double the poverty rate. That measure is used because the federal poverty level, which varies by family size, is unrealistically low compared to costs of living.