The corner of University Ave. and 42nd St. in City Heights, a neighborhood with a high proportion of residents living below the poverty line. Photo: Megan Wood, inewsource.

Poverty in both the city and county of San Diego dropped last year, compared to the year before, though disparities still remain among ethnic groups, according to a report released Thursday.

The report from the San Diego-based Center on Policy Initiatives, based on U.S. Census Bureau data put out this week, found that within city limits, the poverty rate fell from 15.6 percent in 2015 to 13.1 percent the next year, the lowest level since before the recession.

The child poverty rate also fell in the city from 19.7 percent two years ago to 15.5 percent last year, roughly the same as the pre-recession rate.

In San Diego County, across all cities and unincorporated areas, the poverty rate dropped from 13.8 percent to 12.3 percent over the same time period. The child poverty rate fell from 18 percent to 16 percent.

“The 2016 data indicate that last year the economic recovery finally reached some of the lowest-income households in San Diego, and families were able to rise out of poverty,” said CPI Executive Director Kyra Greene.

The CPI said the city of San Diego’s new law that increased the minimum wage beginning in July of last year may have helped lower the poverty rate.

“But far too many working families, especially those headed by women and people of color, continued to live in poverty in our community,” Greene said.

The CPI pointed to data that showed 7 percent of white children and 11 percent of Asian youth lived in poverty last year, but the rate for Latinos and blacks was 24 percent. For Native Americans, it was 49 percent.

The federal poverty threshold last year was an annual income of $12,228 for a single individual and $24,339 for a family of four.

Such national figures are unrealistic for high-cost cities like San Diego, where it can be a struggle to make ends meet even when those figures are doubled, according to the CPI.

–City News Service

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