To measure poverty, federal officials rely on the consumer price index. But that’s based largely on the cost of food, which doesn’t vary as widely as other expenses from place to place.
A new report from charitable organization United Ways of California corrects for that - analyzing how much families really spend across the state on things like housing, transportation and health care.
Los Angeles County has among the highest shares of struggling neighborhoods, where families have a hard time paying for basic necessities. That’s more than 80 percent of households in Southeast L.A. Two-thirds of them pay an outsized percentage of their income on housing.