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California and the West

California's Cost of Self-Sufficiency

November 23, 2000

Although the federal poverty level for a family of three is $14,150, the actual cost of living is often many times higher, particularly in California. In the first study of what it takes for California families to survive without outside help, a coalition of organizations led by the National Economic Law Center and the San Francisco-based Equal Rights Advocates came up with the following estimates for major state urban areas. The following monthly expenses are based on a family with one adult, one preschool child and one school-age child. In every case except San Jose and San Francisco, child care is the biggest expense.

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Child Needed Housing care Transport Food yearly wage Los Angeles $766 $1,053 $262 $372 $40,870 Orange County $891 $1,032 $227 $365 $42,785 Sacramento $631 $881 $198 $372 $34,661 San Diego $805 $933 $221 $365 $39,243 San Francisco $1,362 $1,227 $35 $372 $52,030 San Jose $1,221 $1,154 $197 $365 $51,795

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