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A look at the Self-Sufficiency Standard –
the income needed for families of various sizes to
cover basic living expenses – and the San Diegans
whose wages don’t reach that level.


A third (33%) of working age families in San Diego County can’t make ends meet.


That’s more than 269,000 households, and more than 1 million individuals, living with incomes
too low to cover basic expenses.

San Diego County’s poverty rate of 13.8% vastly undercounts the number of
families living in economic insecurity. Fully a third of all households headed
by people under age 65 have incomes below the cost of living in the region.
Based on the costs of basic family budget items, the Self-Sufficiency Standard
indicates the yearly income families need just to get by. The basic budget starts
at almost $28,000 a year for a single adult, which would require an hourly wage
of at least $13.23 if working full-time all year long. The budget grows with family
size and differs according to the ages of children in the family.
Self-Sufficiency is the ability to afford the bare-bones costs of living without
public or private assistance. The calculation of the standard includes only
no-frills items like housing, food, transportation, child care, healthcare, and



San Diego County Self-Sufficiency Standard
vs Federal Poverty Level

1 Adult 1 Adult + schoolage child 1 Adult
2 Adults
2 Adults
2 schoolage
U.S. Poverty
Thresholds *
$12,331 $16,337 $19,096 $24,036 $28,286 Yearly income needed
to live self-sufficiently
in San Diego County
$27,942 $47,407 $66,145 $88,616 $97,058 Hourly wage needed
adult to reach
$13.23 $22.45 $31.32 $20.98 each $22.98 each *Families are officially in poverty when yearly income is below the threshold for the family size. This table shows just a few examples of
family composition.
** These are the wages needed if the adults work full-time all year. Higher hourly rates are needed if working fewer hours.








Housing Child Care Food Transportation Health Care Miscellaneous Taxes Child Care
Tax Credit (-)
Child Tax
Credit (-)

Total Household income need

Monthly Yearly
1 Adult
$1,060 $0 $282 $262 $144 $175 $407 $0 $0 $2,329 $27,942
1 Adult+
school-age child
$1,390 $539 $504 $270 $434 $314 $634 ($50) ($83) $3,951 $47,407
1 Adult + preschooler + school-age child $1,390 $1,631 $642 $270 $444 $438 $963 ($100) ($167) $5,512 $66,145
2 Adults+infant
+ preschooler
$1,390 $2,500 $804 $512 $489 $569 $1,387 ($100) ($167) $7,385 $88,616
2 Adults+preschooler
2 school-age child



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Justice for Warehouse Workers/ Justicia Para Trabajadores de almacen

join the fight against wage theft/ Unéte a la lucha contra robo de salario