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Report: despite healthy economy, working class still struggling


Aired 4/19/09

 The U.S. Census Bureau has released the latest figures on poverty and income. They cover changes from 2004 to 2005. The statistics show poverty nation-wide remained at the same level, in spite of an improving economy. KPBS reporter Alison St John has more on the situation in San Diego.

To be officially in poverty, one has to earn less than $10,000 a year. In San Diego, that's 11 percent of the population.

In 2005, San Diego's median annual income was $56,000. But Paul Karr of the Center on Policy Initiatives, a think tank on working families' issues, says the median annual earned income was only $33,000.

Karr: "It's interesting but not surprising, considering the size of the low wage industries here in San Diego -- food preparation, tourism, maintenance and building, even health care support -- these are all jobs or occupations that barely provide folks the ability to provide basic needs."

Tourism, a growing sector of the San Diego economy, is the lowest wage occupation, with a median annual wage of less than $20,000.

The census reveals one in five San Diegans who works full time earns less than $25,000 a year. Alison St John, KPBS News.

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