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September 2006

The following study, Poverty, Income, and Employment for Hispanics in San Diego County, uses newly released Census data from the American Community Survey to examine the current economic state of Latino workers. The report highlights the blatant economic inequalities the Hispanic community faces and the need for economic policies that create opportunities for these families.

The increasingly high cost of living and service-based economy is perpetuating high poverty rates, accounting for 48% of adults in San Diego County alone living below the federal poverty line. Although the Hispanic poverty rate has decreased slightly from 22% in 2000 to 19% in 2005, Hispanics and Blacks continually have much higher poverty rates than Non-Hispanic Whites and Asians.

In San Diego County, the middle class is shrinking while more and more people are working in low-wage jobs that offer few benefits like health insurance, paid sick days or vacation time and pensions.

Some of the key findings are:

• 60% of the income for Hispanic households make below %50,000 annually, reflecting a large working class base.

• 44% of Hispanic full-time workers earn less than the self-sufficiency income of $25,950 per year.

• At 46% nearly half of full-time Hispanic workers are employed in the top five lowest wage occupations.