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Struggling to Get By: The Real Cost Measure in California 2015

NCG members United Way of the Bay Area and JP Morgan Chase supported the creation of Struggling to Get By: The Real Cost Measure in California 2015. The report analyzes the real costs of living in California, specifically the challenges that families face in order to do so.
 
Among the questions this report seeks to answer are: How many California households do not have enough income to meet their basic needs? How many are led by working adults? What do we know about these households? What do their family configurations look like? What regions and communities struggle more than others? What do income challenges look like across race, ethnicity and gender boundaries?
 
We find that 1 in 3 households in California, over 3.2 million families—including those with income well above the Federal Poverty Level—struggle every month to meet basic needs. 
 
The Real Cost Measure
The federal government’s official poverty measure vastly understates poverty. Established over 45 years ago, the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) is based primarily on the cost of food, but in the decades since, the costs of housing, transportation, child care, health care and other family necessities have risen far more rapidly than food costs. Further, the FPL neglects regional variations in cost of living, and most Californians live in high-cost areas. As a result, the true extent of families contending with deprivation is hidden. Many of these hidden poor find they earn too much income to qualify for most supports, yet they still struggle to meet their most basic needs, especially as the costs of housing, health care, and other necessities continue to rise faster than wages.
 
United Way Bay Area invested thier time and resources to ensure that the report was aligned with United Ways of California's collective impact. JP Morgan Chase and its Global Philanthropy team works with community partners creating means of opportunity by supporting workforce development, financial capability, small business development, community development and provided key funding for the report. 
 
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PDF icon Struggling_to_Get_By.pdf7.72 MB