Study: Many Californians Struggle With Health Care, Other Expenses
The United Way-funded report, titled "Overlooked and Undercounted 2009," uses income data gathered from the 2007 U.S. Census survey. The researchers note that the recent economic downturn likely increased the number of Californians under financial strain (Wilson, Ventura County Star, 12/9).
For the study, University of Washington researchers analyzed the income data using their own self-sufficiency standard. The standard aims to capture the actual cost of living in a particular location by accounting for the costs of health care, child care, rent and other living expenses.
Currently, the federal poverty standard is based only on the cost of feeding a household.
Although the federal standard set the 2007 poverty level at $17,170 per year for a two-parent family with an infant, the self-sufficiency standard estimates that the poverty line would be closer to $50,000 for many California counties (Abate, San Francisco Chronicle, 12/9).
Researchers found that blacks, Hispanics and families with children were most likely to fall below the self-sufficiency standard.
California's northern-most counties had the highest proportion of households below the self-sufficiency line, with Glenn and Trinity counties at 43%.The San Francisco Bay area had the lowest percentage of households below the self-sufficiency line, with county rates running at about 20% (Ventura County Star, 12/9). 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.