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S.D. Poverty Rate Rising Faster Than Calif.

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Aired 9/29/09

The number of San Diegans living in poverty is at a 50 year high. New census data released Tuesday shows San Diego County’s poverty rate is rising faster than anywhere else in the state.

— The number of San Diegans living in poverty is at a 50 year high. New census data released Tuesday shows San Diego County’s poverty rate is rising faster than anywhere else in the state.

The recession last year caused 46,000 more people to fall below the poverty line in San Diego County. That brought the poverty rate to 12.6 percent, the highest level in the past 50 years.

The Center on Policy Initiatives focuses on research and advocacy for workers in San Diego. The Center’s Murtaza Baxamusa says the county’s poverty rate is still lower than California’s. But he says San Diego’s rate has risen faster.

“We fared worse in this recession in terms of how much we fell during this period of one year than the state of the nation as a whole,” he says.

Baxamusa says San Diego’s reliance on tourism and construction meant the region got hit harder than other areas during the recession. About a third of the county’s population is also classified as living in economic hardship.

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