Report Finds Poverty In Bay Area Doubles Government Estimates

OAKLAND (KCBS) – A new report finds the number of people living in poverty in the Bay Area could more than twice what federal statistics suggest if the higher cost of living in California is taken into account.

While the federal poverty line for a couple raising two children is set at $22,350, the formula used to calculate the California Self-Sufficiency Standard finds the same family would need about $70,000 to make ends meet in the Bay Area.

The report released Tuesday by the Insight Center for Economic Community Development in Oakland in essence redefines what it means to be poor or economically secure, said president Roger Clay.

“The federal poverty line actually is very inadequate. It’s sort of outdated,” he said.

KCBS’ Mark Seelig Reports:

The standard uses the cost of housing, food, child care, health care and transportation in each California county to arrive at a local cost of living typically far higher than the federal standard widely used to allocate state and federal money.

View The Self-Sufficiency Standard For California By County

Clay urged government agencies and charities to take advantage of more specific data provided by his organization to better serve those in need.

The report found child care costs rose 22 percent and health care costs climbed 27 percent since 2008.

But the greatest increase was in taxes. On average, California households were paying 29 percent more to the IRS than they did three years ago.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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