Californians Concerned About Income Inequality
Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Aired 7/2/14 on KPBS News.
The state's residents disagree on raising the minimum wage beyond what is planned.
Californians are worried about the wealth gap in the state but are split on whether government should intervene further, according to a new Field Poll released Wednesday.
More than half of Californians — 54 percent — are unhappy about income inequality, according to the poll. And that dissatisfaction cuts across party, age, gender and income lines.
Their perception of the gap matches reality.
The Center on Budget and Policy priorities found earlier this year that incomes in the top 5 percent households in the state were five times larger than the middle 20 percent and 16 times larger than the bottom 5 percent.
Despite statistics, California Field Poll Director Mark DiCamillo said only 48 percent of the state’s residents support raising the minimum wage beyond the increase to $10 per hour set for January 2016.
“I would have thought more would have supported increasing the minimum wage even further but there must be some concern about jobs and employment,” DiCamillo said.
San Diego City Council President Todd Gloria recently revised a minimum wage hike proposal to $11.50 an hour from $13.
The Field Poll also found that U.S.-born Californians are more dissatisfied with income disparity than immigrants. But the two groups differed in how to bridge the inequality.
“It’s interesting that even though the U.S.-born residents see this as a problem, they’re less likely to want to have government take action,” DiCamillo said. “The immigrants are more likely to support an activist government. That’s consistent with immigrants taking a more expansive view of government in other areas like education and healthcare.”
The poll surveyed 1,020 Californians in six languages and dialects.