Low Wage Earners in San Diego County Rely on Social Service Programs, Including Medi-Cal, Healthy Families
To afford the cost of living in San Diego County, low-wage earners rely on state social service programs, such as Medi-Cal and Healthy Families, according to a Center on Policy Initiatives report released Wednesday, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The report, "Hidden Costs: The Public Cost of Low-Wage Jobs in San Diego," found that on average, a family of four with two people who earn minimum wage -- $6.75 in California -- is eligible for more than $23,000 in social service benefits each year. To become self-sufficient, both parents in a family of four would need to earn $12.27 an hour, or $51,043.20 a year, and a single parent with two children would have to make $22.15 an hour, or $46,072 a year, according to the report. Researchers also found that 90% of county residents enrolled in Medi-Cal or Healthy Families are employed. In addition, researchers found that five of the region's 10 growing job categories pay wages that "fail to support workers' needs in the county," the Union-Tribune reports. David Karjanen, research coordinator for the center, said that businesses should increase their wages to relieve the cost burden on publicly funded agencies, adding that because workers are dependent on public services, "we end up subsidizing the private sector in a lot of ways." San Diego County is the second most expensive region in the state, according to the report (Vigil, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3/10). The report is available online. Note: You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to access the report.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.