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New Report Finds That Three in Ten California Households Cannot Afford Basic Needs
Date:12/8/2009

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Dec. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Three in ten California households lack enough income to cover "bare bones" living expenses, according to a report released today by United Ways of California. The report uses a Self-Sufficiency Standard which measures the actual cost of living in California, specific to each county, for housing, food and shelter, as well as the work-related costs of transportation, child care and taxes.

The complete report, "Overlooked and Undercounted 2009," commissioned by United Way of the Bay Area and conducted by the Center for Women's Welfare at the University of Washington, is available at www.unitedwaysca.org. The report contains county by county breakdowns of the Self-Sufficiency Standard and Federal Poverty Level by County Households.

In contrast to the Federal Poverty Level, which is calculated using a 45-year old approach based on the cost of food and does not take into account wide variations in the cost of living in different regions, the Self-Sufficiency Standard was developed to provide an accurate and up-to-date measure of income adequate for basic needs. The Standard represents a "bare bones" budget appropriate to family composition and does not include any restaurant or take-out food, savings for retirement, emergency funds, or credit card or loan payments.

"While the Federal Poverty Level identifies only ten percent of California residents as poor, this report reveals the extent to which many more Californians are struggling to meet basic needs than most people realize," said Peter Manzo, President and CEO of United Ways of California. "Because the majority of government and social service progr
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SOURCE United Ways of California
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