NEW STUDY REVEALS STARK PICTURE OF BAY AREA POVERTY LEADING UP TO COVID-19 PANDEMIC
COVID-19 has shed light on the economic fragility for millions of people in the Bay Area. And yet, what we didn’t know was exactly how fragile things were before the pandemic even hit—until now. Today, we are releasing Taking Count, a new study on poverty in our region, developed in partnership with the University of California, Berkeley.
Our goal was to gain a better understanding of how many people are living in poverty in our region and the trade-offs people are making to get by. Of course, what we didn’t know when we started was that our research would paint a picture of what life looked like before the impact of a pandemic.
Here are just a few of the startling learnings:
- Half of Bay Area residents can’t pay their bills at least once during the year.
- No matter their income, Black and Latinx residents face far greater challenges to accumulating wealth and providing for their families.
- Low-wage workers don’t have access to benefits provided to higher-wage workers such as sick leave and the ability to work from home—which prove to be essential during times of uncertainty.
Taking Count establishes a critical baseline for the number of people experiencing poverty in the Bay Area just months before the outbreak of COVID-19. The data tells a haunting story of fragility and racial disparity at a time when unemployment was low and the economy was strong, shedding light into what’s to come in the months and years ahead.