New Report Finds High Poverty, Inequity for San Diegans

1 in 10 San Diegans live in poverty, including 86,000 children, according to San Diego Foundation Economic Equity Report

SAN DIEGO, Oct. 26, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — A new report commissioned by San Diego Foundation and developed in partnership with the San Diego Regional Policy & Innovation Center found that one in 10 San Diegans live in poverty, including 86,000 children, due to a lack of self-sufficient wages and the high cost of housing, utilities, transportation and food in the region.

San Diego is a beautiful, diverse region, but not all residents experience the same quality of life, and the sobering data revealed in our report confirms that,” said Mark Stuart, President and CEO of San Diego Foundation. “This report helps us better understand the needs of San Diegans to attract more resources for just, equitable and resilient communities.”

The San Diego Foundation Economic Equity Report analyzed data from national and regional sources to zero in on the region’s greatest disparities. Among the findings:

  • Wages and Housing Affordability: 38% of San Diego County residents spend more than the recommended maximum of 30% of their income on housing.
  • Poverty: Approximately 335,000 San Diegans (11%), live below the federal poverty line ($24,860 or less annually for a family of four); this figure surpasses the entire population of 93% of all other U.S. counties. 
  • Higher Education and the Skilled Worker Gap: Latinos/as make up 42% of the population between 18 and 24 but comprise only 37% of people who have at least started college in that age group, equivalent to thousands who will not have the bachelor’s degrees needed to address the local skilled worker gap.
  • Health Equity: The average Black San Diegan is expected to live to 75, five years less than the average White San Diegan.
  • Immigration: San Diego County has the ninth highest immigrant population among U.S. counties; nearly 91,000 immigrants in San Diego County live in poverty – more than 4.5 times the population of Coronado.

In the report, researchers reviewed economic need in San Diego County, and focused on areas of inequality. The report will be used to demonstrate need and attract state and national funding to the region. 

To read the report in its entirety, visit To give to SDF and help close San Diego’s economic equity gaps, visit

About San Diego Foundation
San Diego Foundation inspires enduring philanthropy and enables community solutions to improve the quality of life in our region. Our strategic priorities include advancing racial and social justice, fostering equity of opportunity, building resilient communities, and delivering world-class philanthropy to realize our vision of just, equitable and resilient communities. For more than 48 years, SDF and its donors have granted $1.7 billion to support nonprofit organizations strengthening our community. Learn more at

About San Diego Regional Policy and Innovation Center (PIC)
The San Diego Regional Policy & Innovation Center (PIC) is a 501(c)(3) organization that exists to conduct research and policy analysis and help solve the region’s biggest problems. Its founding partners include San Diego Foundation, County of San Diego, and the world’s leading think tank – The Brookings Institution. Over the next few years, PIC will continue building strong and diverse partnerships among the leaders of the region; use equity-centered research to identify the region’s biggest needs, and the best opportunities for change, and secure funding for potential solutions; challenge systemic inequities; and develop a pipeline of potential scalable projects and pilots that improve the lives of San Diegans. For more information, visit

Lorena Nava Ruggero

SOURCE San Diego Foundation