What is this indicator?
Income disparity is an important indicator of the economic strength of the community. This indicator measures percent of the population earning less than $35,000 per year.
Why is it important?
Income disparity in the city is a geographic as well as an economic issue. The presumption is that equal numbers of rich and poor living in a community foster an economic and social equilibrium. Such would theoretically be the case if this ratio is "1.0", a state of income parity. Large income disparity, however, can cause inequalities in access to city and social services, resources and well-being. It also threatens the long-term stability of the economy and the community.
How are we doing?
As of 2010, 20% of the population was earning less than $35,000 per year. This percentage has been declining steadily since 1990, but 20% is still disproportionately high in comparison to the high cost of living in Santa Monica. There are very limited viable housing options for those earning $35,000 per year or less. This leads to an increase in the job/ housing imbalance, increased vehicle miles traveled, and increased congestion.
In looking at the indicator for income disparity, it is important to consider poverty. The 2013 Census Report finds that the percent of residents living below the poverty level in Santa Monica is 11.2%. This is compared with 15.9% in California and 22% in Los Angeles.