Poverty In Merced County

Poverty is a formidable foe, impacting millions of Californians every day. But, it's not an impossible one. Each day, we win battles against poverty, family by family. Community Action Agencies provide critical services to strengthen families and communities. We assist with childcare so parents can obtain an education to improve their job opportunities. We find solutions to transportation obstacles so people can get to work. We weatherize homes to reduce energy costs. We help the homeless secure homes of their own. We help A.I.D.S. patients with meeting their basic needs, such as food and housing. We support new mothers with breastfeeding and nutritional education. We advocate for those in need at the local, state, and federal level. Together, with other Community Action Agencies we help families work their way to self-sufficiency.

Merced County is often referred to as the center of poverty and poverty related issues, not only in California, but the nation. Merced County reports that 21.5% of it’s residents live in poverty, while the state average is 10%. Unemployment is far above the national average at 18.8% with only 67% of it’s residents having a high school diploma. The statistics get worse when you look at children ages 18 and under with over 29% of that population living in poverty. In the school year 2010-2011, 75% of enrolled students in school qualified for free or reduced lunch prices. The median income for a family in Merced County is $42,325.00 and 14.5% of the county residents rely on food stamps to make ends meet. The need for community action is evident all around us.

Factors that contribute to the high rate of poverty in the county are low educational attainment, lack of living wage jobs, language barriers, inadequate community resources, and a very young workforce. Community Action is working on community and agency solutions in order to continue to combat these obstacles and strive towards reductions in poverty county-wide. Day by day and step by step we are moving people out of poverty and changing their lives.

For more information, please visit the 2010 U.S. Census: http://www.census.gov/

Poverty In Merced County