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San Diego Income Stays Flat As Incomes Rise Nationally

Photo caption:

Photo by Center for Policy Initiatives

A graphic showing San Diego's poverty rate from the Center for Policy Initiatives.

San Diego Income Stays Flat As Incomes Rise Nationally

GUESTS:

Alissa Anderson, senior policy analyst, California Budget & Policy Center

Peter Brownell, research director, Center on Policy Initiatives

San Diego is not seeing the same economic gains as the country overall, according to an analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data released Thursday.

The national median income in 2015 was $56,500, an increase of more than 5 percent from 2014. That was the largest single-year increase since the Census Bureau began tracking the information in 1967.

While San Diego's median income is higher, at $67,871, it's essentially flat from 2014, according to the Center on Policy Initiatives. The 2014 figure was $67,879.

San Diego's poverty rate also lagged behind the nation's. It fell just 0.1 percentage points to 15.6 percent last year, according to CPI. The national poverty rate fell more than 1 percentage point, hitting 13.5 percent.

"There are still millions of people struggling to get by in California," said California Budget & Policy Center Senior Policy Analyst Alissa Anderson on KPBS Midday Edition. "Under the official poverty measure, about 6 million Californians struggled to make ends meet last year. Under a better measure, the supplemental poverty measure, which factors in our high cost of housing, it's more like 8 million. No matter how you measure it, we're too rich a state for this many people to be struggling to get by."

Why isn't San Diego experiencing a significant boost to its incomes? Anderson said the recovery is bringing more jobs, but not higher wages or more hours. CPI Research Director Peter Brownell said another factor could be that San Diego was ahead of the curve when it saw a bump in 2014. But he stressed San Diego is still not doing as well as before the recession.

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