Grocery ShoppingThe Poverty Line

The U.S. Census Bureau designates the official poverty measure (OPM) comparing pre-tax household income to what’s needed to cover basic needs, adjusted by family size. The 2019 U.S. poverty levels are:

Household SizePoverty Guideline

San Joaquin Residents below the Poverty Line

This graph shows the percentage of San Joaquin County residents whose household income is lower than the designated U.S. poverty guidelines based on their household size. Those in "Deep Poverty" are defined as having income below 50% of the poverty level. 

The California Poverty Measure

The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) devised an updated poverty threshold that takes into account costs and standards of living on a regional level, called the California Poverty Measure (CPM). Compared to other California counties, San Joaquin County’s adjusted poverty rate is better than with the OPM (15.8% vs. 17.1%) due to San Joaquin County’s relatively lower cost of living. California social safety net programs also cut into poverty rate for Californians, although higher costs of living hurt other regions such as the Bay Area.

Food Stamps

One safety net for those below the poverty line is SNAP, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as food stamps). San Joaquin County has experienced a dramatic increase in the percent of households that receive this benefit, surpassing the U.S. average in 2014. Only recently has this percent decreased back to national levels (12.5% vs 11.7% in the U.S.). 

What kinds of households are SNAP recipients? Most households had one or more family member work in the past 12 months, while 19.4% had no workers. Of SNAP households, 47.2% are below the poverty level, and 37.7% have at least one person with a disability.