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Study: Some of San Diego's major industries pay poorly

Posted at 1:29 PM, Jan 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-31 16:29:32-05

SAN DIEGO - Some of the biggest industries in America's Finest City are also the lowest paying.

A new report from the Center of Policy Initiatives (CPI) revealed almost half of employees in tourism, retail sales, construction, miscellaneous services, and agriculture have incomes to low to live self-sufficiently.

Simply put, the report found that an adult living on their own needs to make at least $2,329 a month, or $27,942 a year, to live self-sufficiently in San Diego County. That number balloons as family size increases:

  • One adult and one school-age child: $3,951 a month, $47,407 yearly
  • One adult, one school-age child, one preschooler: $5,512 a month, $66,145 yearly
  • Two adults, one infant, one preschooler: $7,385 a month, $88,616 yearly
  • Two adults, two school-age children, one preschooler: $8,088 a month, $97,058 yearly

Income numbers take housing, child care, food, transportation, health care, taxes, tax credits, and miscellaneous costs into consideration.

The report documented the five major industries, their respective workforce levels, and the percentage below the level to live self-sufficiently in the county:

  • Retail Sales: 154,504 employees in workforce; 38 percent below self-sufficiency level
  • Tourism: 179,560 employees in workforce; 43 percent below self-sufficiency level
  • Construction: 80,912 employees in workforce; 44 percent below self-sufficiency level
  • Miscellaneous services: 75,954 employees in workforce; 45 percent below self-sufficiency level
  • Agriculture: 13,878 employees in workforce; 56 percent below self-sufficiency level

Of the county's families, those with one or more children in their household are more susceptible to falling below the self-sufficiency standard line.

Forty-eight percent of households in the county that have children can't afford San Diego. This compares to 23 percent of households in the county below the standard who don't have children.

"The costs of living balloon as family size grows, while incomes often don’t grow. Childcare and miscellaneous costs are particularly high for infants and preschool children," the report states.

Related: Nearly one-third of residents can't afford San Diego

At least one person in 88 percent of San Diego's working-age households is working, but still doesn't make enough to make ends meet.

"Even if two people in a family work or at least one works full-time all year, a quarter of all families still have earnings too low for the basic costs of living in the San Diego region," the report said.

In household with one person working full-time, year-round, 25 percent live below the sufficiency standard:

  • Of all households headed by someone under 65 (806,193), 33 percent are below sufficiency standard.
  • Of households with at least one person working (764,672), 31 percent are below sufficiency standard.
  • Of households with two or more people working (433,644), 26 percent are below sufficiency standard.
  • Of households with at least one person working full-time, year-round (626,618), 25 percent are below sufficiency standard.

The study gathered its data from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The self-sufficiency standard calculates how much income a family or a certain size in a given place must earn to afford basic needs, without public or private assistance.