Rich vs. Poor

San Diego CityBeat, 8/28/07 |

Each year, the U.S. Census Bureau releases the American Community Survey, a mini census that gathers demographic and socio-economic information from roughly 3 million households nationwide. The point is to provide up-to-date information for policymakers in the years between the decennial censuses.

ACS results were released Tuesday morning. Nationally, according to the Economic Policy Institute, household income is up and poverty’s down, but this comes with a caveat: People are getting paid less and working more hours to compensate, according to EPI.

The ACS survey also provides county-level data. San Diego’s Center on Policy Initiatives analyzed that data Tuesday. Some of what the CPI analysis found:

  • In San Diego County, 57 percent of workers make less than $50,000 a year.
  • Ninety-one percent of employed San Diego County residents make less than $75,000 a year.
  • Eight percent of households in the county earn below the federal poverty level ($10,294).

CPI spokesperson Susan Duerkson said it was a surprise that individual incomes were down (3.9 percent from 2005), even though household incomes, similar to the nationwide trend, were up. What’s going on, Duerkson said, is that household-income stats are “pulled up by people at the top.” Of the combined individual salaries in San Diego County, the wealthiest 20 percent of residents take home half the money while the poorest 20 percent take home just under 4 percent.