The California Budget Project today released its annual “Making Ends Meet” report detailing what families would actually need to earn to survive in this state. This is a much more reliable measure of poverty than what is typically used to determine public program eligibility, etc — the federal poverty level, which was set in the 1960s based on the price of food and not updated since.
What CBP found is that families (with children) need to earn between three to four times the minimum wage in order to pay for basic needs — rental housing and utilities, food, transportation, health care and other essential costs.
Comparing CBPs numbers to:
- Minimum wage at $7.50 an hour;
- The median hourly wage of $17.42 (in 2006),
we can see that families are barely making it — earning between $17.39 and $24.22 an hour.
Relative to health care, the California Budget Project found families spending between 15.3 to 22 percent of their earnings on health care. These are families who aren’t able to get coverage through work and don’t qualify for public coverage.
That’s what makes our push for affordable health care even more important.