Census data shows county poverty rate on the increase

City News Service

The poverty rate in San Diego County was nearly 15 percent last year, up from 12.6 percent the year before, according to a report released Thursday by the Center for Policy Initiatives.

The CPI used 2010 U.S. Census data to derive its figures. The poverty line is defined by the federal government as annual income of $11,139 for a single person, or $22,314 for a family of four.

The worst pockets are in El Cajon, where 29.7 percent of the population live in poverty, Escondido, where the rate is 20.5 percent, and the city of San Diego, with a 17.4 percent rate.

The figure is about 12 percent for other area cities, such as Oceanside, Carlsbad and Vista.

The CPI reported that African-Americans and Latinos in the county had poverty rates of about 21 percent, nearly double the rate for whites and Asians.

The study also found that of the estimated 446,000 people living at or below the poverty line, 25,000 adults worked full-time and 97,000 others held part-time jobs.

Because of San Diego’s high cost of living, the authors of the study believe that a more realistic measure is 200 percent of the federal standard. In that case, 34 percent of San Diego County residents would be suffering economic hardship, according to the report.