Report: Wages don’t cover high cost of living for 33% of San Diegans

SAN DIEGO — Nearly one-third of households don’t earn enough income to make ends meet in San Diego County, according to a report released Tuesday by the Center on Policy Initiatives.

The CPI finding was based on a self-sufficiency standard, which factors in basic family budgets without frills. Unlike the federal poverty line, it takes into account the high cost of housing in the local market.

According to the study, it takes nearly $28,000 for an individual to make ends meet in San Diego. A family with two adults and two children needs almost $89,000.

Read More: Minimum wage in San Diego increases by $1 an hour to $11.50

“When we calculate the actual costs to fully meet families’ basic needs, we find that fully a third of households in San Diego aren’t earning enough,” said CPI Research Director Peter Brownell. “This means that over a million people in San Diego are living in economic insecurity, are living on the edge and are worried about their next meal.”

The percentage of households living below the self-sufficiency standard dropped from 38 percent in the last report, issued by the CPI three years ago.

“The data indicate that the improvement is due to growth of employment, although wages are still not keeping pace with costs,” Brownell said. “In other words, more people are working, but are not earning enough to cover the high cost of living.”

The self-sufficiency standard factors in the costs of housing, child care, food, transportation, healthcare, taxes and miscellaneous expenses.

The federal poverty level for a single adult is $12,331, and for a family of four is $24,036.