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Thousands of San Diegans Live Below Poverty Level

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Aired 4/19/09

New data from the U.S. Census shows hundreds of thousands of San Diegans continue to live well below the federal poverty level. KPBS reporter Alison St John has more. The median household income here in San Diego fell about one per cent in 2007. That’s statistically stagnant .


Susan Duerksen is with the Center on Policy Initiatives , a think tank on issues affecting working families. She says people at the bottom end of the economic spectrum haven’t gained any ground.

 

Duerksen:  The poverty rate in San Diego County is also statistically unchanged … it is now 11 percent. But the federal poverty measure is really irrelevant for this area because the cost of living is so high here.

 

Deurkson says more than 300,000 San Diegans live in poverty, as defined by the federal government. But the federal poverty threshold is about $20,000 a year for a family of four – and CPI has calculated families need well over double that just to make ends meet in San Diego. They estimates about 800 residents live in financial hardship, many of them working people and many of them children.  

 

The data shows the top 20 percent of all households earn half of the county’s income, while the bottom 20 percent only earned 4 percent of the income pie.

 

Alison St John, KPBS News.

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