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New survey finds 1 in 4 Californians worry over cost of housing, retirement every day or almost every day

Nearly 70% believe the gap between the rich and the poor is widening.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A new Public Policy Institute of California survey asks Californians how they feel about their economic state, and nearly 70% believe the gap between the rich and the poor is widening.

One in every four Californians worry about the cost of housing every day or almost every day. 

"Jane" fits into that category. She’s too embarrassed to use her real name, so for the sake of this story, ABC10 will refer to her as Jane. 

Jane is living between her car and her daughter's apartment. 

“We’re stressed right now about how to make rent this month, just this month alone," Jane said. "So yeah, we’re having a very hard time.”

Still, 62% of those surveyed believe that today’s children will have it worse off than them. 

“I have a two-year-old grandson, and when he gets older, I feel bad for him because he's not going to have any money for anything," Jane said.

David Vazquez works in construction.

“Right now, it's like everything's going up," Vazquez said. "Gas prices are high. Everything's going up still, so later on it’s probably gonna be higher.”

He agrees with the survey’s finding that 69% believe the gap is widening. 

“The gap is like, you know, we're down here (pointing to his waist) and then they’re up here (pointing to his shoulder)," he said. "That's like, a big difference.”

Dean Bonner is the associate survey director at the Public Policy institute of California. 

“There are these large differences between the lowest income and the highest income, and often between racial-ethnic groups with Asian Americans and Whites having less worry than African Americans and Latinos,” Bonner said. 

"One of the findings that I think is just really striking is that while six in 10 Californians say that it would not be too difficult to handle an emergency expense of $1,000, among the lowest income, that kind of under 20,000 group, it's actually six in 10, who say it would be very difficult or nearly impossible to handle that emergency expense," Bonner added. "So these are the types of things I think that they keep people up at night."

Jane agreed. 

"I wouldn't do it, but the first thing I would like to do is rob a bank," Jane said. "I mean, you know, just to live and that's terrible. I shouldn't feel that way.”

One in five people surveyed said the lack of well-paying jobs in their region is a big problem.

It’s the second time this survey was conducted. The same exact questions both times around. Bonner said the results were pretty similar to last year's findings.


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