Struggling To Get By

The Real Cost Measure in California 2015

Struggling to Get By introduces the Real Cost Measure, a basic needs budget approach to better understand the challenges facing California households. A basic needs budget approach is intuitive and easy for most people to understand, as it is composed of things all families must address such as food, housing, transportation, childcare, out of pocket health expenses, and taxes. A basic needs budget approach takes into account different costs of living in different communities, and also conveys a better sense of the hardship for families with income below the basic needs budget level as it invokes the notion of tradeoffs between competing needs—if you have an inadequate level of income, do you sacrifice on food, gas, or childcare?

Struggling to Get By explores the Real Cost Measure through different lenses. At the geographic level, we conduct “apples to applies” comparisons among counties, regions and neighborhoods (through public use microdata areas). We also discuss challenges facing specific households such as single mothers, households with young children, households of color and seniors.

Read the full report, visualize hardships throughout California through Interactive Maps, and learn about Real Cost Budgets from United Way's of California.

Want to learn more about the Real Cost Measure in SLO County?

Watch a recap of some of our events:

Presentation at the SLO County Library on November 24, 2015

SLO County Board of Supervisors Meeting
Watch now! (November 24, 2015 Meeting, Item 22)

KVEC 920 SLO County Today Podcoast
Listen now!