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San Diego Families Squeezed By Falling Incomes

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Aired 9/29/10

Households in San Diego saw their incomes decrease for a second year in 2009. New data from the Census Bureau shows more county families slipped below the poverty level.

— Households in San Diego saw their incomes drop for a second year in 2009. New data from the Census Bureau shows more families in the county slipped below the poverty level.

The county’s median household income fell from $62,739 in 2008 to $60,231 in 2009.

While the county's overall poverty rate held steady at 12.6 percent, the rate for families with children grew more than half a percent to 13.2 percent, or more than 91,000 families.

Dan Seiver, professor of finance at San Diego State University, said it was no surprised falling incomes were squeezing families more.

“You can have two couples, one of whom has children and one of whom doesn’t and they have the same income and one will be considered in poverty and the other won’t even though their incomes are the same,” he said.

The county’s families headed by single women were the most likely to struggle financially. About 23 percent, or roughly 27,500, of those families were living at or below the poverty level last year.

While more families were pushed into poverty, households at all income levels saw their incomes shrink.

The number of households with incomes above $100,000 fell by 6.4 percent, while those earning less than $50,000 grew by 6.6 percent, or 20,000.

"It shows over all how hard we've been hit by the recession," Seiver said. "It wouldn't be surprising that there would be more poverty and that in general incomes have fallen and people have been hurt at the high end as well as the low end."

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