updated on March 24, 2016
The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 17.8% of Los Angeles’ population is below the poverty level. With a population of over 10 million, there are over 1 million persons who are considered poor. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 11.5% of Ventura County’s population is living under the poverty limit. In 2015, 16% of the people in Santa Barbara County were living in poverty.
According to State of California, Employment Development Department, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Los Angeles County declined over the month to 5.6% in February 2016 from a revised 5.8% in January 2016 and was below the rate of 7.5% one year ago. In Ventura County, the most recent unemployment rate is calculated to be 5.3%, lower than in Santa Barbara County (5.6%).
According to current Regional Los Angeles Food Bank’s report, 1, 400, 000 people (16%) in Los Angeles County are affected by hunger. Hunger affects old and young alike. While fixed-income seniors, people with disabilities and low-income families are the most visible examples of people who struggle, hunger doesn’t stop there. Hunger affects all groups of people regardless of education level, employment status or ethnicity. Due to the soaring costs of both housing and transportation in Los Angeles County, many people who work, even families with two incomes, often cannot make ends meet or put enough good food on the table.
Los Angeles Food Policy Council reports that on a daily basis, over one million Los Angeles County residents face the enormous burden of being able to afford any food. At the same time, for many of the same families, the consumption of too many cheap calories has fueled an obesity and diabetes epidemic.
The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County served 140,575 people, including 49,729 children (0-17 years old) and 21,750 seniors (60 years or older).
Despite the progress made towards a sustainable economic recovery, many Ventura County residents still access safety net services such as Medi-Cal, CalFresh, and CalWORKs. During the past ten years, the percentage of county residents receiving support services has grown significantly: from 1 in 10 in 2006 to more than 1 in 4 in 2016. As of December 31, 2015, 79, 192 individuals supplemented their diets with CalFresh benefits.
Kidsdata.org reports that in 2014, 26.7% of children lived in poverty in Los Angeles County. Since 2007, the number of children living in poverty in Santa Barbara County has risen by 63%. In 2014, 24.5% of all children in the county lived under the federal poverty level. In Ventura County, 15.5% of children lived in poverty.
It is estimated that there are 1.5 million low-income Angelenos who are also burdened with housing insecurity. The 2015 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count reported 41,174 homeless persons in Los Angeles County: 12,226 (30%) individuals are sheltered and 28,948 (70%) persons are unsheltered. The number of tents, makeshift shelters, and vehicles have increased from 5, 335 to 9,535 since 2013. Homelessness has increased by 16% since 2013.
There were 1,417 adults and children who were homeless during the point-in-time count in Ventura County, according to the Ventura County 2015 Homeless Count and Subpopulation Survey. Of the 1,417 homeless adults and children, 957 or 67% were unsheltered and 460 or 33% were sheltered, whereas 63% were unsheltered and 37% sheltered in 2014.
Results for the 2015 Point in Time Count showed that there were 1,455 homeless individuals in Santa Barbara County; 75% of them were male and the average age was 43, with 83 being the age of the oldest individual.