Almost 1/3 of LA County residents fear going hungry, becoming homeless – survey

© Lucy Nicholson
Nearly one-third of residents in Los Angeles County have feared going hungry or becoming homeless in the last few years, according to a new quality of life survey. The number jumped even higher for those with incomes under $30,000.

The results come from a survey of 1,400 LA County residents conducted by UCLA's Luskin School of Public Affairs, both in English and in Spanish. The survey showed a large disparity in concerns over hunger between white residents and Latinos.

Specifically, it found that 29 percent of residents feared going hungry in the past few years. When asking those who made under $30,000 a year, the number shot up to 49 percent. Even among those who made up to $60,000, 33 percent worried about going hungry, while 25 percent of those making up to $90,000 had the same fear.

Latinos were most worried about going hungry, the poll showed, with 44 percent expressing concern over the possibility. Only 1 in 10 whites worried about not having enough food.

Meanwhile, 31 percent of respondents said they worried about losing their homes. Of those making under $30,000, 54 percent feared homelessness. Even among those who made between $90,000 and $120,000, about a quarter worried about being homeless.

"Our survey represents a compelling class- and ethnic-based economic story," said Zev Yaroslavsky, director of the Los Angeles Initiative, according to Phys.org. The survey "reveals the clear differences by class, by economic standing, even more so than the racial divide,” he added to the LA Times.

"Economic differences seem to be the fault line in our county. It really paints a picture of a Los Angeles that is two worlds."

Asked to rate their overall quality of life in LA County based on a scale of 10 to 100 – with 100 being the best – respondents delivered an overall rating of 59, just above the midpoint of 55.

Residents were least satisfied with the cost of living in LA County, which received a score of 50 on the scale. Jobs and the economy were next (52), while education scored a 54 on the index. Fifty-two percent of those making under $30,000 said that the LA area economy  while 71 percent of those making $120,000 more said it was fair to them.

Notably, residents gave an overall score of 69 for relations between different races and ethnicities. Whites, Latinos, African-Americans and Asians all gave scores of over 70 when it came to their own relations with other groups of people, though the numbers did differ when law enforcement was involved. Whites gave a score of 79 for their interactions with police, while Asians gave a 70. Latinos and blacks gave scores of 66 and 65, respectively – lower than the others, but still in the positive territory for the survey.