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NEWS // February 6, 2019

Indicator Monitors Percent of Household Income Spent on Housing

David Palomino, Administrative Analyst III, County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency – Office of Strategy & Innovation

It's tax season again, and for many, it’s a time of reflection on personal finances and spending habits. Successfully managing personal income and expenses can lead to financial security, which is an important indicator of overall wellbeing.

One way we are measuring financial wellness in San Diego is by monitoring the percentage of household income being spent on housing. In 2010, the Live Well San Diego Income Indicator showed that 49.7% of households spent less than 1/3 of their income on housing. In 2016, the Income Indicator improved by more than 3% to 52.9% of households. When more households spend less of their income on housing, overall wellbeing improves.

In 2016, 1 in 2 Households Spent Less than 1/3 of Income on Housing. 

Education Indicator

While some progress has been made, San Diego County overall remains below both California and the US in the percentage of households spending less than 1/3 of their income on housing. The graph below shows a regional, state and national comparison of household spending on housing. 

Percent of Popluation Spending Less than 1/3 of Income on Housing for 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Income on Housing rates by region


What Is Being Done

Poor financial health can often lead to diminished physical health, including higher blood pressure and depression. In addition, the average high-school graduate lacks the basic skills to manage their personal finances, including balancing a checkbook and understanding a budget. Together, we can help change these statistics and improve the financial health of our communities.

Below are five Live Well San Diego Recognized Partners who are helping to prepare San Diego County residents for financial success and independence.

Financial Wellness Wednesdays

San Diego County Credit Union is hosting Financial Wellness Wednesdays seminars in partnership with the San Diego County Library on a variety of topics aimed at improving financial health. Topics include: Ten Simple Steps to Financial Success; Building a Better Budget; Rebuilding After a Financial Crisis; Teens & Money; 30 Ways to Trim Your Budget; and many more.

To view the financial wellness schedule, visit

Enhancing Your Financial IQ

The San Diego Financial Literacy Center helps San Diego County residents improve their financial understanding through informational videos, educational seminars and workshops, and one-on-one financial coaching. They focus on educating youth (K-12 and college), military (active, transitioning and veteran), and low-to-moderate income persons about how to manage their money. Their flagship program called Smart With Your Money Financial Opportunity Clinics are clinics that are custom built for each person seeking financial coaching.

Learn more about Financial Opportunity Clinics:

United We File

The United Way of San Diego County partners with the Community Action Partnership in the County of San Diego's Health and Human Services Agency and the IRS to lead the San Diego EITC Coalition. This coalition consists of partners throughout the region that offer free tax preparation for lower-middle income working families and individuals (households earning $66,000 or less) in San Diego County through the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). EITC can help reduce your tax liability and, in many cases, put money in your pocket. 

In 2018, over 31,000 unique households were served through the Coalition’s efforts, bringing back 40 million dollars in State and Local refunds, including 14 million dollars in EITC.  

Learn more about the Earned Income Tax Credit:

Coasting to Financial Wellness

California Coast Credit Union is committed to helping San Diego County residents understand and manage their financial resources. They provide a variety of free financial workshops and tips ranging from preparing for retirement to optimizing a business plan.

Learn more:

Junior (Major) Achievements

Junior Achievement of San Diego teaches kids, from kindergarten through high school, skills that are commonly not addressed in school. These include career awareness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy though various innovative and hands-on programs.  A few include:

·         JA Company Program

·         Annual Stock Market Challenge

·         The McGrath Family BizTown

With 30 staff members and over 6,000 volunteers, Junior Achievement positively impacted 65,000 students in San Diego during the 2017-2018 school year.

Learn more about Junior Achievement’s programs: