San Diego: New Report 38% Can’t Make Ends Meet


While a study released last week shows the homeless population dropping in San Diego County, another study shows that people with homes and jobs are finding it increasingly difficult to live in the area without public or private assistance.

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According to the Making Ends Meet report released by the Center on Policy Initiatives last month, 38 percent of the county’s working-age households — meaning households headed by someone younger than 65 — can’t pay for basic necessities such as rent, child care, groceries and food without help.

“This is very no-frills living,” said Susan Duerksen, senior communications adviser for the center, a research and action nonprofit formed in 1997 to advance economic equity and improve conditions for low-income people in the county. “It doesn’t include going to the movies or that sort of thing.”

The report — which was funded by the United Way and the Leichtag Foundation — is set to be presented at a United Way workshop on May 7 and to the Alliance for Regional Solutions in Vista the next day.

Overall, 300,000 working-age households in the county don’t earn enough to be self-sufficient, an increase of 8 percent since 2007. Of those households, 83 percent have at least one employed person.

The percent of households that can’t make ends meet is higher in San Diego than in San Francisco, but about average for the state, said the center’s research director, Peter Brownell.

About 24 percent of households headed by someone who works full time year-round don’t have enough income to be self-sufficient. More than half of all workers in tourism also can’t make ends meet.

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