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Almost A Third Of Angelenos Are Worried About Becoming Homeless Or Going Hungry

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A new quality of life survey released by UCLA's Luskin School of Public affairs reveals that Angelenos are anywhere from moderately to very stressed out going hungry or losing their homes. The survey also reveals a significant divergence between how rich and poor, as well as old and young, Angelenos perceive fairness of Los Angeles' economic landscape.

The most worrying results of the survey come from a series of yes-or-no questions asked about basic food and housing security. Shockingly, almost a third of Angelenos surveyed "felt extreme economic distress in recent years," according to the study. When asked if they or their family had worried about going hungry because they could not afford food, 29 percent said "yes." When asked if they were worried about becoming homeless, 31 percent said "yes."

Per the survey, exactly half of Los Angeles County residents who make less than $30,000 annually are actively worried about not being able to feed themselves and their family. The survey broke down hunger anxiety by race, and determined that Latinos are by-and-large the most concerned, with 44 percent of Latino survey respondents saying they worry about going hungry.

By contrast, 18 percent of black and Asian residents worry about going hungry, while only 10 percent of the county's white residents share this fear.

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Housing numbers are similar, where 59 percent (!) of those who earn less than $30,000 annually are fearful that they may become homeless. Housing anxiety doesn't quite disappear with more income, however, given just over a third of those who make between $60,000 and $90,000 annually have the same worry.

Unsurprisingly, renters are much more anxious about losing their home. Where 18 percent of homeowners worry about losing their home, approximately 44 percent of renters do.

With regards to economic "fairness," Angelenos who earn less than $30,000 annually are least satisfied, and those who make more than $120,000 are most satisfied. The scale is a somewhat-confusing 10-100 scale, where 55 is considered "neutral." Angelenos who make below $30,000 award L.A. a "negative" 52 on the fairness scale contrasted to affluent Angelenos who award it a "positive" 71.

Also somewhat unsurprising is the proportion of older residents who are satisfied with the cost of housing. Where Angelenos aged 40 or younger rate the cost of housing a depressingly negative 45 value, those aged 75 plus give it a much more positive 64.

Perhaps this is because they grew up in a time where you could purchase a four-bedroom house in Tarzana for less than $60,000, and—because of Proposition 13—pay a disproportionately low property tax.

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"Economic differences seem to be the fault line in our county," said Zev Yaroslavsky, a long-time county supervisor who's now the director at the Los Angeles Initiative at the UCLA Luskin school, said to the L.A. Times. "It really paints a picture of a Los Angeles that is two worlds."

Despite the doom and gloom, there's some encouraging news on how Angelenos of all races perceive how well folks of different creeds and colors are getting along. Asians (74), Latinos (75), blacks (77), and whites (78) all gave high scores to relationships across racial lines. This was similarly true for interaction with law enforcement, where blacks (65), Latinos (66), and Asians (70) gave good scores. White Angelenos (79), however, rate their interaction with law enforcement even more highly.

For context, according to U.S. Census data, 48.4 percent of people who live in Los Angeles County are Latino, 26.8 percent are non-Hispanic white, 14.8 percent Asian, and 9.2 percent are Black.

[h/t to Curbed LA]