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).
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.