More than 38% of Los Angeles County’s population live in “economic hardship” while 17.5% (or approximately 1.56 million people) live under the federal poverty limit ($23,021 annually for a family of four.)
One in 10 people in Ventura County are living under the poverty limit and more than 1 in 5 adults in the county lack healthcare insurance/coverage.
In the County of Santa Barbara, the numbers are higher: 18% of people are living in poverty, up from 11% in 2007, before the economic crisis hit.
Unemployment and Income
Recent figures show that unemployment in Los Angeles County has dipped slightly, down to 10.2%. In the last three years, the County’s unemployment rate has fluctuated between 12% - 13%.
In Ventura County, the most recent unemployment rate is calculated to be 9.4%, higher than Santa Barbara County (7.9%), but lower than Los Angeles County.
Food assistance from food banks and agencies like Catholic Charities has increased by 27% over the last three years in Los Angeles County and there is currently an estimated gap between supply and demand of 1.3 million pounds of food county-wide.
There is a large discrepancy in Ventura County between those considered food insecure (47%) and those receiving CalFresh, or food stamps, (5.8%). Efforts are underway to get benefits to those in need.
Santa Barbara County has witnessed a 20% increase in food pantry visits since the beginning of the economic crisis in 2008.
More than one quarter (28.5%) of California’s poor children live in Los Angeles County.
In Ventura County, 14.3% of children live in poverty and 22.9% are overweight, which is often linked to food insecurity and can lead to diabetes and other health risks.
Since 2007, the number of children living in poverty in Santa Barbara County has risen by 63%. Today, 21.8% of all children in the county are living under the federal poverty level.
Between 2009 – 2011, homelessness increased in the San Fernando Valley (+26%), San Gabriel Valley (+19.9%), City of Los Angeles (+1.7%) and South Bay(+50.9%).
On any given night in Ventura County, 1,295 people are homeless and an estimated 6,000 to 8,000 individuals are homeless at some point during the year. The average wait time for low-cost public housing in the county is five years.
People who are homeless have a higher mortality rate than the norm. In Santa Barbara County, the average age of death of women who are homeless is 48; for men who are homeless, it is 53.