Economic Disparity Getting Wider in CA, Latinos Most Optimistic, but Worse Off
By Sandra G. Leon
A new survey of Californians finds that a majority believe the economic gaps between rich and poor is getting worse and that children growing up in the state will be worse off than their parents.
The study, conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California, found that 69% of those surveyed believe the gap between the rich and the poor in their region is increasing and 64% think it will be even worse by the year 2030.
The highest percentage of respondents who believe the gap is widening (74%) was among those making $80,000 a year or more, whereas 63% those making less than $20,000 and those making between $40,000 and $80,000 thought the gap is increasing.
Overall, 63% of the respondents said they believe children growing up in California today will be worse off economically than their parents are today, and only 36% believing children will be better off.
But, among those respondents, Latinos had the best outlook for their kids’ futures. 51% of Latinos in the survey said they believe children will be better off than their parents and only 48% thought worse. That was 15% better than the overall survey.
The lowest percentage of respondents believing children will be better off than their parents was among White respondent, with only 23% saying their children will be better off than themselves and 76% saying they will be wore off.
52% think that times in the next year will be worse than they are today, with 47% saying they expect better times in the next year. About 20% blamed the lack of good paying jobs in their region for the pessimistic outlook, and about the same percentage blame the lack of good jobs for their interest in moving out of the state.
When asked how their personal finances are compared to last year, an average of 62% said they were about the same, 20% said they are better off, and 18% said they are worse off. The highest percentage of respondents who said they are better off than last year was among Blacks, with 28% saying they are better off today than last year and 54% saying they are about the same.
But Latinos were also the least likely to be able to handle a $1,000 emergency expense, only 49% saying it would not be too difficult, the lowest percentage among all ethnic categories, compared to an average of 62% of respondents saying it would not be too difficult. 57% of Blacks, 69% of Whites, and 70% of Asians agreeing.
Latinos also scored the lowest among demographic groups when asked if they are experiencing financial difficulties, with 26% saying they are currently unable to pay their monthly bills, compared with an average of only 17% of respondents who said they are experiencing difficulties. 25% of Blacks also said they are experiencing difficulties, more than twice the percentage of Whites (12%) and Asians (12%) who answered the same way.
A vast majority supported expanding safety net programs to help at risk families, with an average of 72% supporting expansion of earned income tax credit and 76% supporting increased government funding for childcare programs. The highest support for both programs was among Black respondents with 78% and 84%, respectively, and the lowest support, although still over half, was among Whites with 65% supporting the earned income tax credit and 69% supporting childcare program funding increases.
The study polled 2,292 adult Californians and was published this month by the Public Policy Institute of California.
Link to the full report HERE.