Child poverty rate in San Diego Unified School District increased significantly to 22.3 percent last year. It has been increasing steadily since 2007, when the poverty rate was 17 percent. The increase in poverty mirrors a national trend, where child poverty rate increased in one of five counties in the nation during the recession from 2007 to 2010. However, a sharper increase in poverty in San Diego Unified occurred last year, as the number of school-age children between 5 and 17 years residing within the district fell by more than 13,000, whilst the number of children in poverty increased by more than a thousand. This brings the San Diego Unified poverty level above the national poverty rate of 19.8 percent for all school-age children.

Over the past decade, San Diego Unified now has the lowest number of school-age children and the highest poverty rate.

These data are based on Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau today. Sources for this data include the American Community Survey, federal tax information and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. In the earlier part of the decade, estimates were based on the 2000 Census. These data are used to allocate federal and state education funds (such as Title 1).

This increase in poverty in the district follows a historic rise in poverty rate in San Diego County to 14.8 percent which is likely to be higher under alternative measures of poverty that capture the higher cost of living in the region.

Murtaza Baxamusa is the Director of Planning and Development for the San Diego Building Trades Family Housing Corporation. He lives in Bird Rock.

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Murtaza Baxamusa works for the San Diego Building Trades Family Housing Corp. and volunteered as a special policy adviser for Bob Filner.

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