Not Working

Before the recession, thousands of Orange County families were living month-to-month, only one paycheck away from losing their homes or running out of food... and then in a moment that paycheck was gone. Lack of steady, sufficient employment can create immediate and generational poverty, increasing risk for low education levels, poor nutrition and health, and increased incidents of family violence.

5 cities with the highest unemployment rates are also among cities with the lowest income in the county.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau: 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates
By the Numbers: Nearly 50,000 unemployed in Stanton, Garden Grove, Anaheim, Westminster and Santa Ana and nearly 10% average unemployment in 5 central cities vs. 8% unemployment countywide.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau: 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates

From 2002 to 2012, average unemployment has risen from approximately 5 percent to 8 percent in Orange County, with already-impoverished communities bearing the brunt of the recent recession. The five Orange County cities experiencing the highest unemployment rates—Anaheim, Garden Grove, Santa Ana, Stanton and Westminster—are also facing the greatest levels of poverty among their residents, so the recession has struck hardest within our most vulnerable communities.

Those who lose their jobs are not only more likely to have financial difficulties, but also are more likely to report poorer physical health, depression, anxiety, insomnia and related disorders. These problems can arise at the same time a worker is losing employment-based health insurance.

These pockets of extreme poverty are surrounded by affluence, a startling juxtaposition within a single county. Struggling families are faced with the same grocery prices, housing costs and tax rates as their higher-income neighbors, creating an ever-widening gulf of disparity.