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For many years, high costs of living have made it difficult for many Californians to keep themselves and their families safely housed, healthy, and nourished. Recent high inflation has made it even harder for Californians to make ends meet.

When basic costs go up, Californians with the lowest incomes are hit the hardest. About 2 in 3 California households with incomes under $35,000 had trouble affording basic expenses in fall 2022. Moreover, about 9 in 10 California adults with household incomes below $35,000 who faced rising prices reported feeling moderately or very stressed about price increases.

A bar chart showing the percentage of households reporting difficulty paying for basic expenses by household income where Californians with low incomes were most likely to struggle to pay for basic expenses in September and October of 2022.

Policymakers should make sure Californians with low incomes have the support they need to cope with rising prices and high costs of living. Strategies include:

  • boosting safety net supports
  • ensuring low wages keep pace with inflation
  • prioritizing investments that help people meet basic needs like affordable housing, health care, and child care.

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