About 10% of Residents in Some Counties North of San Francisco Lack Health Insurance
About 10% of residents of Marin, Mendocino, Napa and Sonoma counties did not have health insurance in 2001, including about 15,000 residents of Marin County and 46,000 in Sonoma County, according to a study released Tuesday, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. New Economy, Working Solutions -- a not-for-profit research and education organization supported by labor, religious and community groups -- sponsored the study, which analyzed demographic, employment, income and poverty statistics of the four North Bay counties since 1979.
The study -- titled "The Limits of Prosperity: Growth, Inequality and Poverty in the North Bay" -- states that "the incomes of the richest one-fifth have grown at staggering rates, while those of the middle and the bottom have grown sluggishly, or actually declined."
The study found that one in six North Bay families lives in poverty. The study also found that 18% of children live in poverty in Marin County, 23% in Sonoma County, 31% in Napa County and 51% in Mendocino County.
Currently, about one-third of the projected job growth in the North Bay is in occupations where entry-level positions earn at or slightly higher than the minimum wage of $6.75 per hour.
The study advocates support for initiatives that provide health insurance coverage for children living in poverty, as well as housing initiatives that help ensure low-wage workers can live in the communities where they work. The study also urges the state to create education and training programs for low-wage workers, including immigrant worker centers to provide legal and social services, as well as increase the state minimum wage (Doyle, San Francisco Chronicle, 3/1).