1 in 10 San Diegans are living under the poverty line


SAN DIEGO – New numbers show that nearly 1 in 10 people living in San Diego are living in poverty. This comes as “America’s Finest City” tops a list of the most expensive cities in the country.

“We get creative with making food, making meals, don’t go out to eat too much and have fun at home…There are people living on the streets and it doesn’t need to be like this,” shared one resident who has lived in the area for 50 years.

According to a recent report commissioned by the San Diego Foundation, around 335,000 San Diegans throughout the county are living in poverty. That’s about 11% of the population. Out of that number, just about 86,000 of them are children. To offer some perspective, that’s enough to fill up Petco Park not once, but twice.

“San Diego is a beautiful, diverse region, but not all residents experience the same quality of life, and the sobering data revealed in our report confirms that,” said Mark Stuart, President and CEO of San Diego Foundation in a press release. “This report helps us better understand the needs of San Diegans to attract more resources for just, equitable and resilient communities.”

According to FOX 5 economy expert Dr. Alan Gin, high cost of living and low wages just isn’t adding up.

“Incomes tend to be lower in San Diego than other places…Housing is just out of sight here. The problem is San Diego is such a desirable place to live, people want to live here- and that has just driven up housing costs,” Gin said.

The federal poverty line currently stands at an income of nearly $25,000 or less annually for a family of four.

“We need more resources to provide interventions, and then also really looking at the systems that are creating a more dire situation,” shared Pamela Gray Payton, who is the Chief Impact and Partnerships Officer with the San Diego Foundation. “You can do absolutely nothing with less than $25,000 for a family of four in San Diego.” 

Compared to other counties across the country, the local stats are grim. Right now, the county’s poverty numbers surpass the entire population of 93% of all other U.S. counties. It’s something experts say could have generational consequences.

“Those children will grow up and if we don’t do something to change the trajectory of their lives, they will also grow up only knowing poverty,” Payton said.

According to the San Diego Foundation, “researchers reviewed economic need in San Diego County, and focused on areas of inequality.”

The report will be used to demonstrate need and attract state and national funding to the region.  


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