United Way's Real Cost Measure Report

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United Way Report Finds More Than 1 in 3 Households in California Struggle to Meet Basic Needs

Struggling to Stay Afloat: The Real Cost Measure in California 2019, a report released by the United Ways of California determines what a decent standard of living really costs in California.
The study finds that over 1 in 3 (37%) households in California struggle to meet basic living costs, which is roughly three times as many as federal poverty statistics would indicate.

“The Real Cost Measure provides us the ability to better understand the challenges facing struggling households in our community, and to engage local community partners, civic leaders, the business sector and our elected officials in addressing their everyday hardships” says Peter Manzo, President & CEO of United Ways of California.

California Statewide data highlights include:

– More than one in three California households—over 3.8 million families (37%)—do not earn sufficient income to meet basic needs
– Workers: Of the estimated 3.8 million households in California that fall below the Real Cost Measure, 9 in 10 have at least one working adult
– 6 in 10 Young Children Live in Struggling Households: 60% of households in California with children aged between 0 and 5 fall below the Real Cost Measure
Bay Area highlights include:
– Over 28% of families in the San Francisco Bay Area struggle to meet basic needs
– 33% of families pay at least 30% of their income on housing in the Bay Area
– 72% of families led by a person without a high school diploma in the Bay Area struggles to meet basic needs
– 67% of single mothers in the Bay Area struggle to meet basic needs
– 46% of families with children under the age of 6 struggle to meet basic needs in the Bay Area



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