Comparing Santa Barbara’s Poverty to the Country’s

U.S. Census Bureau Data Elaborates on Recent County Survey

Monday, September 23, 2013
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Data released this week by the U.S. Census Bureau supported the findings of a poverty study unveiled September 10 at the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors meeting. The information highlighted how the county’s residents are faring compared to other Californians and other U.S. residents, especially in the years after the economic crisis.

Taken together, the results of the poverty study and the national and statewide findings from the Census Bureau show that Santa Barbara County may have a higher median income ($60,078) than the state ($58,328) and the country ($51,000), but it also boasts a higher poverty rate. While the percentage of Californians living in poverty tops 16 percent and the percentage of Americans living in poverty hovers around 15 percent, Santa Barbara County weighs in at 18 percent.

The county’s child poverty rate is in line with that of the country’s, with both around 22 percent. Santa Barbara County has a lesser percentage of senior citizens — those age 65 and older — living in poverty than the country does, at approximately 7 percent and 9 percent, respectively. The U.S. as a whole has a lesser percentage of 18- to 64-year-olds living in poverty than the county does — about 14 percent versus 19 percent.

The county’s study, championed by 1st District Supervisor Salud Carbajal and later supported by all the supervisors, cost $60,000 and was paid for with equal parts federal money and a grant from the Santa Barbara Foundation.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

22% of children in the richest country in the world are growing up in poverty. How disgusting is that?

blackpoodles (anonymous profile)
September 23, 2013 at 9:53 p.m. (Suggest removal)

richest country? Depending on which article you read, people will say we're broke!

spacey (anonymous profile)
September 24, 2013 at 12:09 a.m. (Suggest removal)

So, about 1 in 5 living in poverty? Is it any wonder we have an achievement gap? I think we should thank every teacher who goes into the classroom everyday knowing that 6 out of a classroom of 30 kids is already dealing with extenuating circumstances.

sharpen123 (anonymous profile)
September 24, 2013 at 6:18 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"Inequality for all" a new movie out Friday

tabatha (anonymous profile)
September 24, 2013 at 8:29 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm disappointed that county supervisors and attendees at the Sept 10 meeting, as well as the County Social Services Department and the Insight Center for Community Economic Development that used US Census data in the study, didn't acknowledge that the median income value used is median HOUSEHOLD income, not individual income.
The median household income quoted in this article, $60,178, based on 2010 census data, corresponds to median PER CAPITA income of $29,731. Comparable income values based on 2000 census data are median household income $65,782 and $46,677. Median household income in the county in 2010 was 91% of the 2000 value. Median per capita income was 44% of the 2000 value.
Non-family households in Santa Barbara County represent over 1/3 of total households, and many households represent much higher than optimal occupancy/bedroom or per square foot as a result of Santa Barbara's high real estate values.
I haven't read the study this article is based on, but income alone is an inadequate measure of poverty. The median monthly rent in SB county, based on 2010 census data was 12% above the median for the state. The median house or condo value was 44% above the CA median.
I think Santa Barbara County is unusually hostile towards its low-income population. SBPD SBSO discriminate against low-income residents who can't afford an attorney, the county has no long-term care ombudsman program that served primarily low-income residents of long-term care facilities, SBPD and the DA don't acknowledge the rights of LTC residents under federal and CA law and don't provide the physically or mentally handicapped low-income population from financial or emotional abuse,
I have a feeling that we spend proportionally more than other counties in losses due to fraud, embezzlement and theft by local government employees and litigation against government entities who violate state and federal laws and less in providing basic services to low-income residents.

14noscams (anonymous profile)
September 24, 2013 at 7:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Government's first priority is and always has been to protect itself and expand it's influence. The taxpayer's and resident's interests have always been secondary.

Botany (anonymous profile)
September 24, 2013 at 8:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Botany: True, although my comment referred to SB relative to other counties. SB has a Machiavellian philosophy towards residents and news media that's unusually complicit with government corruption and promotes it by uniformly ignoring blatantly illegal and unethical conduct - it's unusual even in other cities in the county.

14noscams (anonymous profile)
September 24, 2013 at 8:53 p.m. (Suggest removal)

You nailed it 14noscams & Botany!

As I sit here on the farm 1800 blissful miles away from the dystopia of Santa Babylon and read this stuff, I realize that I made the right decision in getting myself and my animals as far away from that place as possible. There was no way I was ever going to be able to live in retirement there, and not end up homeless, and living in continual shelter insecurity and grinding poverty is NOT how I wish to spend the rest of my life. I have worked hard all my life, paid my bills and my taxes, and I deserve better than living in that kind of hell.

Endless summer is just not that important for me; I LOVE wide open spaces, big trees, things that are green and growing that feed people, and not worrying continually about becoming homeless, not being able to pay my bills, or about animal rights extremists stealing my dog to forcibly spay her in their relentless quest to exterminate all domestic pets.

Calif is doing this to itself, and SB more than most places there. I truly do not miss any of it.

Holly (anonymous profile)
September 25, 2013 at 3:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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