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New Survey Shows California Dream Continues To Fade

San Diego's skyline is shown in this undated photo.

Photo by Milan Kovacevic

Above: San Diego's skyline is shown in this undated photo.

Nearly half of working Californians are grappling with poverty, according to a new survey by the DC-based Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI).

“These are people who are working and in many cases, multiple jobs and they’re still not able to make ends meet," said PRRI Chief Executive Officer Robert P. Jones.

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The survey also revealed that 42 percent of the state’s working poor families had at least one member who delayed medical treatment for financial reasons.

More than a third struggle to cover rent or a mortgage and can’t pay at least one monthly bill. Forty-three percent have scaled back meals to save money.

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“Grasping the magnitude of this problem and understanding the real-life struggles and hardships that impact these vulnerable workers, is critical for California policymakers, businesses and nonprofits who want to work to create a healthier, more robust employment environment in the state,” Jones said.

The state’s working poor were are also more likely to report that they or someone in their family had a negative experience at work. Seventy-three percent believe it in the power of workers organizing to protect their rights.

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“Californians working but struggling with poverty face a web of workplace challenges that make meeting basic housing and healthcare needs extraordinarily difficult,” said PRRI Research Director Dan Cox. “They feel undervalued by their employers and doubt that much can be done to improve their working conditions.”

More than half of the state’s residents don’t believe hard work and resolve ensure success. Two thirds of the working poor said they would encourage young people to look for better opportunities outside their community.

Nearly half of working Californians are grappling with poverty, according to a new survey by the DC-based Public Religion Research Institute.

Logo for Cal Dream project The California Dream Project is a statewide collaboration focused on issues of economic opportunity, quality-of-life, and the future of the California Dream. Partner organizations include CALmatters, Capital Public Radio, KPBS, KPCC, and KQED.


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Photo of Amita Sharma

Amita Sharma
Investigative Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksAs an investigative reporter for KPBS, I've helped expose political scandals and dug into intractable issues like sex trafficking. I've raised tough questions about how government treats foster kids. I've spotlighted the problem of pollution in poor neighborhoods. And I've chronicled corporate mistakes and how the public sometimes ends up paying for them.

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