According to new polls, 69% of California residents believe economic inequality is getting worse as the gap between the rich and the poor in their region is growing, and 64% believe it will be even wider by 2030.
The poll, conducted by the nonpartisan think tank Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), surveyed 2,292 adult Californians about their views on the state’s economic outlook, financial security, and job security, among other topics, according to a report published on Sunday by the Xinhua news agency.
While 62% of California residents said their finances were the same as a year ago, those with lower incomes were more likely than others to say they were worse off than a year ago, who expressed dissatisfaction with their finances and said it would be difficult to pay for a $1,000 emergency expense, according to PPIC.
Approximately 16% of Californians said they or someone in their household had received food from a food bank in the previous year, while 27% received unemployment benefits.
Those earning less than $20,000 per year were nearly three times more likely to say they were worse off than those earning $80,00 or more.
More than one-quarter of Californians, or 27%, were concerned about saving for retirement and the cost of housing on a daily or almost daily basis. According to the survey, two in ten Californians are concerned about their debt, and 19% are concerned about healthcare costs for themselves and their families.
The results of the survey varied by region as well.
Half of those polled in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area were optimistic, while the Central Valley, Inland Empire, and Orange/San Diego counties were pessimistic.
The majority of Californians polled said the availability of well-paying jobs was a problem in their area, with 22% saying it was a major issue. Residents in the Inland Empire and Orange/San Diego counties were slightly more likely than those in other regions to say this was a major issue, according to the survey.
In California’s central San Joaquin Valley, a predominantly rural area that produces the majority of the state’s agricultural output, approximately 61% of residents polled viewed the availability of well-paying jobs as a positive factor “somewhat of a problem”, while 21 per cent viewed the availability of well-paying jobs as a “big problem”.
The survey results also revealed disparities in racial/ethnic groups’ perspectives.
Overall, Californians had mixed feelings about the state’s economic prospects for the next year.
According to the report, roughly 47% believe good times are ahead, while 52% believe bad times are ahead, with a majority of Latinos (57%) and Black Americans (54%), respectively, believing good times are ahead, compared to roughly four in ten Asian Americans (43%) and whites (39 per cent).