REGION — Jobs, food availability, health and housing are among the areas with the largest equity gaps in San Diego County, a report released Wednesday revealed.
The Equity Indicators Report, compiled by the county’s Office of Equity and Racial Justice, comes in the wake of the county’s declaration of racism as a public health crisis in January 2021.
“It’s no secret that inequities exist in the region, but this report outlines where the problems are the greatest,” said OERJ Director Andrew Strong. “We have numbers that will help us, as a region, create solutions to address these issues and make changes that benefit all of us.”
Among the findings:
– 27% of people with disabilities were in the workforce versus 72% of non-disabled people. Black and disabled people had the lowest employment rates of those in the workforce;
– Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, Latino and Black children experienced poverty at more than twice the rate of white children in San Diego County;
– Around 36% of county residents do not make a “self-sufficient” wage;
– Black San Diegans were more than three times as likely to be enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – SNAP, called CalFresh in California – for food benefits than white people and twice as likely as county residents overall;
– Low birthweight was twice as common among births to Black mothers compared to white mothers; and
– White and Asian households were twice as likely to own their home compared to Black residents.
These sobering statistics were compiled by the county with data collected from 2019-2022 to identify areas of greatest need among under-served communities and as an attempt to focus priorities in the future.
According to the report, the equity gap is literally costing lives. There was a 9.8-year gap between the lowest and highest life expectancies by race and more than a quarter of the county’s census tracts had either a mental health, dental, or primary care shortage.
About 38% of all households in the county were cost-burdened – that is, households which spend more than 30% of their income on housing – and Black households were more likely to spend more than half of income toward housing.
The data will be updated annually to measure collective progress, a county statement read.
The county established the OERJ in 2020 and the Office of Evaluation, Performance, and Analytics was created one year later.