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December 2004

Left Behind found that the majority of downtown workers in targeted low-wage occupations are adults who are not in school. They are working long hours for wages below self-sufficiency levels and many are uninsured. Affordable housing, transportation, health care and low wages are the primary challenges faced by low-wage workers in San Diego’s downtown.

Some highlights:

  • 59% of workers are either married, have children or both.
  • 42% of workers do not have health insurance.
  • 76% are renters and only 14% are homeowners.
  • 90% of workers do not live downtown.
  • 42% of downtown workers rely on public transportation and 45% commute to work by car.

It is clear that the redevelopment boom downtown is creating thousands of new, low-wage service sector jobs. What remains to be seen is whether these jobs will indeed be brought in line with redevelopment’s broader goals, “creating an environment for the social, economic, and psychological growth and well-being of all citizens.” If not, thousands of jobs will add to the ranks of the working poor and the uninsured, even as the city prospers, perpetuating an ongoing trend that leaves thousands of workers behind.