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Tess Vigeland On Tough Choices For San Diego’s Poor

Tess Vigeland, the host of Marketplace Money, talks to KPBS about her series on wealth and poverty.


Tess Vigeland, host, Marketplace Money

Tom Fudge, KPBS reporter


Special Feature Speak City Heights

Speak City Heights is a media collaborative aimed at amplifying the voices of residents in one of San Diego’s most diverse neighborhoods. (Read more)

San Diego is known for its beaches, biotech, zoo and amusement parks. One thing it is not usually known for is a place with pockets of severe poverty.

But the American Public Media program Marketplace Money chose San Diego for a series of stories on poverty and how life changes when you have to stretch too little money too far...all the time.

Tess Vigeland, the host of Marketplace Money, told KPBS she chose San Diego because "when you think of San Diego, you don't necessarily think of poverty, at least on the national level."

She said places like the Hotel del Coronado and La Jolla give San Diego a wealthy image, when in fact 15 percent of San Diego County lives in poverty.

"That directly mirrors the national average," she said.

Vigeland spent most of her time in City Heights visiting with families living under the national poverty level. She said their financial decisions come down to "choosing between basics."

"Are you going to pay for food for the day, or are you going to gas up your car?" she said. "That's assuming you even have a car."

KPBS reporter Tom Fudge contributed to the Marketplace Money series with his segment Rich and Poor San Diegans Take Stock Of The American Dream.

Marketplace Money airs Saturdays at 3pm on KPBS-FM. This economy series can be heard on October 6.

Jolie Puidokas contributed to this segment. Claire Trageser contributed to this report.

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