The California Budget & Policy Center has reported that median household rents in California have risen 13.2 percent from 2006 to 2016, while median annual earnings for full-time workers grew by only 4.1 percent during that period. In Southern California, for example, the median cost of homes hit $536,250 over the summer.
Sara Kimberlin, senior policy analyst at the nonprofit California Budget & Policy Center, said the supplemental rate is a more accurate measure because the cost of living is so different from state to state. And in California, she said rents are rising more quickly than earnings. “A really key reason why California’s poverty rate is so high is that we have very high housing costs in many parts of the state,” she said. “And even in areas of the state where housing costs are not as high, many people struggle with high housing cost burden.”
“High housing costs are a key driver of why so many are struggling,” said Sara Kimberlin, a senior policy analyst at the California Budget & Policy Center, a Sacramento think tank, pointing to a “mismatch between higher housing costs and wages not keeping pace.” Median household rents in California rose by 13.2 percent from 2006 to 2016, while median annual earnings for full-time workers grew by only 4.1 percent over the same period, according to inflation-adjusted numbers in a report by the Budget Center. “Wages for workers in the middle and bottom range have been relatively flat,” Kimberlin added. “We’ve mainly seen increases for those at the higher end.”
In a report Wednesday, the California Budget & Policy Center said state lawmakers should bolster public aid programs and increase tax credits for working families in the state with the nation’s highest poverty rate.“While median household rents increased by 13.2 percent from 2006 to 2016, median annual earnings for full-time workers (those working at least 35 hours per week) grew by only 4.1 percent during that period,” the report said.
“We know that the amount of money you actually have to pay to afford housing is very different in different parts of the United States,” said Sara Kimberlin, a senior policy analyst with the California Budget & Policy Center. “Even though the economy may be doing better overall,” Kimberlin said, “at the level of individual families, it’s not enough to have a job if your wages don’t pay the rent.”