The Center on Policy Initiatives released its analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2007 American Community Survey this afternoon, noting that little has changed since 2006 with regards to income, poverty and earnings in San Diego County.

Although most of the numbers pertaining to San Diego are different compared to last year’s, CPI Director of Research and Policy Murtaza Baxamusa said, some statistics may not actually suggest increases or decreases. For example, he said, because the U.S. Census Bureau’s margin of error was +/- 0.5 for San Diego County’s poverty rate, the 11.1 percent figure this year does not represent a statistically significant decrease, compared to the 2006 number.

“We cannot say with significance whether (the poverty rate) has increased or decreased,” he said. “That really is a sad thing because we would like to say whether something has increased or decreased, but it is within the margin of error.”

Click here to see the margins of error for the poverty rates of San Diego County’s cities. Click here to see the margins of error for the Gini Index Scores of the United States, California, San Diego County and San Diego cities.

Going by Baxamusa’s reasoning, the only significant poverty rate changes between 2006 and 2007 are:

  • San Diego City: 12.1 percent (13.4 percent last year)
  • Oceanside: 7.8 percent (10.0 percent last year)

And the only significant Gini Index Score changes are:

  • California: 0.469 (0.466 in 2006)
  • United States: 0.467 (0.464 in 2006)
  • San Diego City: 0.461 (0.456 last year)

CPI’s new report also doubles the federal poverty threshold in order to calculate what it calls a more realistic assessment of economic hardship. The federal government considers poverty to be $10,787 for a single adult under age 65 and $21,027 for a family of two adults and two children. CPI uses 200 percent of that figure to calculate its poverty line, saying it is a more realistic figure. With that number, 27.4 percent of county residents — or 787,991 people — live in poverty.

Here are a few excerpts from the CPI report:

Almost half (45.1%) of county residents over age 16 who lived below the official poverty level in 2007 were working.

Almost a quarter of all full-time workers — 207,864 workers — earned less than $25,000 for a year of work.

Among full-time, year-round workers, inflation-adjusted earnings were flat from 2006 to 2007 for both genders, but the median earnings for women (38,680) were 20% lower than the median earnings for men ($47,955).


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