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California Dream Far from Real: New Survey Reveals Nearly One-Third of Californians Working, yet Struggling with Poverty

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California Dream Far from Real: New Survey Reveals Nearly One-Third of Californians Working, yet Struggling with Poverty

PR Newswire

WASHINGTON, Aug. 28, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- A new survey released today by PRRI finds almost one-third (31 percent) of Californians are in the workforce and yet are still struggling with poverty. The survey looks at how this group struggles to cover basic expenses, and how these individuals are more likely than workers who are not struggling with poverty to find themselves exploited at work. The survey also provides a close examination of the lived experience of Californians working and struggling with poverty, including their economic concerns and aspirations, as well as their beliefs in higher education, family values, and the American Dream.

PRRI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to conducting independent research at the intersection of religion, culture, and public policy. (PRNewsfoto/PRRI,The Atlantic)

"It is striking that nearly one-third of Californians are finding that the promise of the American Dream—that if you work hard, you'll get ahead—is not coming true for them," said PRRI CEO Robert P. Jones. "Grasping the magnitude of this problem and understanding the real-life struggles and hardships that impact these more vulnerable workers is critical for California policymakers, businesses, and non-profits who want to work to create a healthier, more robust employment environment in the state."

Key Findings:
A significant proportion of Californians in the workforce are economically struggling.

  • Nearly one-third (31 percent) of all Californians are working but struggling with poverty, which translates to almost half (47 percent) of the state's workers.

Californians who are working and struggling with poverty experience notable economic vulnerability and hardships.

  • Fifty-six percent of California workers struggling with poverty say it would be at least somewhat difficult to pay for a $400 emergency expense, compared to only 24 percent of workers not struggling with poverty.
  • Forty-two percent of workers struggling with poverty have put off medical treatment.

Californians working and struggling with poverty are also more likely than workers who are economically secure to report that they or someone in their household encountered a variety of negative workplace experiences in the last year.

A majority (55 percent) of Californians say the American Dream is harder to achieve in California than elsewhere in the United States.

Contrary to some commonly held negative stereotypes, workers struggling with poverty are more likely than workers who are not to say they highly value a number of social and economic goals.

More information, including methodology, can be found here.

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SOURCE PRRI

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