An annual cost-of-living study from the United Way highlights a disturbing trend in the Bay Area: A rising number of families are unable to afford basic living necessities.
More than 600,000 Bay Area residents, or about 1 in 4, can’t afford cost-of-living necessities such as housing, food, medical care and child care, the study found.
The data relflects what was happening even before the pandemic.
Across the state, the study’s findings are even more dire, with about one-third of the 3.5 million families statewide unable to make ends meet. And 97% of those households are considered "working poor" – employed but just not making enough.
"Housing is probably the primary cost factor," said Pete Manzo, CEO of United Ways of California. "Housing is very expensive, we don't have enough of it, and many people rent, and rents are high, and we don't do enough to support renters."
Half of those families also have children under age 6, and in some places, child care is more expensive than rent, according to study that analyzed Census data from 2014 to 2019.