1 in 4 SoCal Kids is Straight-Up Poor

Comments (0)


Thu, Dec 5, 2013 at 1:30 PM
click to enlarge JOHN LEE CLARK/FLICKR
  • John Lee Clark/Flickr

Southern California is home to the glamorous life, no doubt. But beneath the surface of reality television, and outside the range of TMZ cameras, there are millions of people barely hanging on.

See also: Know Your Rich People, Los Angeles.

In fact one in four Southern California children is living in poverty. And, overall, nearly one out of every five us is straight-up poor. Look around you. Somebody you know is struggling.

This according to the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG):

The organization, which deals with regional planning for nearly half of California's population -- the 18 million people in Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties -- says poverty in SoCal has absolutely exploded by 69 percent since 1990.

And the early '90s, the riot era, were rough economic times in Southern California.

The bad news was being presented today at the group's 4th Annual Economic Recovery & Job Creation Summit at the Omni Los Angeles Hotel downtown.

The group uses U.S. Census data, which is telling:

There are those even at the Census itself who argue that the very definition of poverty in Southern California should be different than that used in the rest of the nation because our cost of living, including ridiculous rent and real estate, is so much higher.

See also: California Is America's Poorest State.

As it stands, 3.2 million of us are living in poverty, according to SCAG. That's almost the population of the city of Los Angeles (which is 3.8 million).

  • Sterling Davis Photo/LA Weekly Flickr pool

One out of four (26 percent) folks who work -- but who never graduated from high school -- are below the poverty line despite the paycheck, the organization says.

Only slightly more SoCal people than that (29 percent) have a bachelor's degree or higher, which is a telltale sign of whether or not you're poor. The advanced-degree rate in the Bay Area is 43 percent, SCAG says.

Hasan Ikhrata, the group's executive director:

This is a problem that is not going away on its own. Fixing it is an urgent priority requiring collaboration unlike anything we've ever seen at the local, regional and state level.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.

Related Content


Now Trending

Los Angeles Concert Tickets


  • 21st Annual Classic Cars "Cruise Night" in Glendale
    On Saturday, spectators of all ages were out in multitudes on a beautiful summer night in Glendale to celebrate the 21st annual Cruise Night. Brand Boulevard, one of the main streets through downtown Glendale, was closed to traffic and lined with over 250 classic, pre-1979 cars. There was plenty of food to be had and many of the businesses on Brand stayed open late for the festivities The evening ended with fireworks and a 50th anniversary concert from The Kingsmen, who performed their ultimate party hit, "Louie, Louie." All photos by Jared Cowan.
  • The World Cup Celebrated And Mourned By Angelenos
    The World Cup has taken Los Angeles by storm. With viewings beginning at 9 a.m., soccer fans have congregated at some of the best bars in the city including The Village Idiot, Goal, The Parlour on Melrose, Big Wang's and more. Whether they're cheering for their native country, favorite players or mourning the USA's loss, Angelenos have paid close attention to the Cup, showing that soccer is becoming more than a fad. All photos by Daniel Kohn.
  • La Brea Tar Pits "Pit 91" Re-Opening
    Starting June 28th, The Page Museum once again proudly unveils the museum's Observation Pit, which originally opened in 1952 but has spent most of the last half century closed. Now visitors can get an up-close look at Pit 91, which is currently under excavation. The La Brea Tar Pits, home of the Page Museum, is one of the world's most famous ice age fossil locations, known for range of fossils from saber-toothed cats and mammoths to microscopic plants, seeds and insects. The new "Excavator Tour" is free with museum admission if purchased online at tarpits.org . All photos by Nanette Gonzales.