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Majority say economic inequality in California getting worse: Poll

 
Los Angeles, Nov 15 (IANS) A new polls has revealed that 69 per cent of California residents said the gap between the rich and the poor in their region was increasing and 64 per cent believed that it would be larger by the year 2030.

The poll, conducted by the nonpartisan think tank Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), surveyed 2,292 adult Californians about their opinions on the state's economic outlook, financial security, job security, among other topics, Xinhua news agency quoted the Times of San Diego as saying in a report on Sunday.

While 62 per cent of California residents said their finances today were the same as a year ago, those with lower-income were more likely than others to say they were worse off financially than a year ago, who expressed dissatisfaction with their finances and said it would be difficult to pay for a $1,000 emergency expense, PPIC reported.

About 16 per cent of Californians said they or someone in their household had received food from a food bank in the past year, and 27 per cent received unemployment benefits.

Those making less than $20,000 per year were nearly three times more likely than those making $80,00 or more to say they were worse off.

More than one in four Californians, or 27 per cent, worried daily or almost every day about saving for retirement and the cost of housing. Two in 10 Californians worried about the amount of debt they have, and 19 per cent worried about healthcare costs for them and their family, according to to the survey.

Survey results varied by region as well.

Half of residents in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area were optimistic, while majorities in the Central Valley, the Inland Empire, and Orange/San Diego were pessimistic.

Most Californians polled said the availability of well-paying jobs was a problem in their part of the state, and 22 per cent considered it a big problem. Residents in the Inland Empire and Orange/San Diego in the survey were slightly more likely to say this was a big problem than those in other regions.

In California's central San Joaquin Valley, a predominantly rural area producing the majority of agricultural production in the state, about 61 per cent of residents polled viewed the availability of well-paying jobs as "somewhat of a problem", while 21 per cent viewed the availability of well-paying jobs as a "big problem".

The survey result also highlighted different views in racial/ethnic groups.

Overall, Californians had mixed views of the state's economic outlook for the next 12 months.

About 47 per cent said they thought good times were ahead, while 52 per cent said they foresaw bad times, the report said, adding a majority of Latinos (57 per cent) and Black Americans (54 per cent) said good times were ahead, compared to about four in 10 Asian Americans (43 per cent) and whites (39 per cent).

--IANS
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