Please note that is a past initiative, for the most recent data please click here.

Community groups, foundations, job training organizations and public agencies in California are using a tool that has enabled them to better help their clients and members move from poverty to economic independence: the Family Economic Self-Sufficiency Standard (Self-Sufficiency Standard). This measures how much income is needed for families of various compositions living in different counties to adequately meet their minimal basic needs. It is based on the costs families face on a daily basis – housing, food, child care, out-of-pocket medical expenses, transportation and other necessary spending. The Self-Sufficiency Standard provides a more complete picture of what it takes for families to make ends meet in contrast to the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). By using the Self-Sufficiency Standard, we can see that the number of families struggling to make ends meet is actually larger than commonly recognized. As a result, those families’ needs are rarely recognized by public agencies that use traditional measures of poverty.
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