The Starting Line — Study Paints a Stark Picture of Economic Reality in San Diego

San Diego Free Press, 9/21/12 | Read the original article |

An analysis released yesterday by the Center for Policy Initiatives based on recently released census data shows more than a third of San Diego County residents are living with economic hardships.  The report says that across most industries in San Diego County, the spending power of the average paycheck is dropping, with inflation-adjusted earnings decreasing in 10 of the region’s 15 largest industries, compared to 2007, and more people falling into poverty in last year.

“Too many working people are living in poverty, and middle-class families are falling behind as their buying power shrinks,” said Corinne Wilson, lead researcher on the CPI analysis, in a press release issued by that organization. “It’s time our local industries take responsibility for providing good wages that give their employees a decent quality of life.”

Among other key findings:

  • Among the fifteen industries surveyed, tourism and hospitality’s 53,867 employees had the lowest median earnings for 2011, pulling down $24,422, nearly $7,000 less than the next lowest paying group.
  • Of the 462,269 people living below the federal poverty line, 117,408 were employed and 137,084 were children.
  • Black and Latino families and women continue to bear the brunt of poverty and low incomes in the County.
  • On average, all households lost $2,337 in purchasing power from 2010 to 2011, when the midpoint of household income throughout the County dropped to $59,477.
  • 136,249 people who worked full-time, year-round did not have health insurance in 2011, adding substantially to their living costs.