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.