United Ways of California released an analysis of cost of living and household income in the county of Kern, discovering that more than 40 percent of the residents' population cannot afford basic necessities.
The average total income per family that lives under the same roof is around $40,000, compared to $74,000 as the minimum income typically to fulfill paying regular expenses, housing, groceries, and other essentials for a multi-person household.
In an agricultural-dense area that is a national supplier for produce, poultry, dairy, and other grains, other sectors have also been flourishing in this early decade. However, government supplementals and community-based resources have been out of reach due to their limited capacity of applicants or poor outreach that hasn't been sufficiently funded.
Urbanization has existence in the county, but with its primary presence as rural, negligence is commonly acceptable amongst statewide legislation and lack of incentivization for further contribution.
Growing up in Bakersfield, my parents lived paycheck to paycheck yet could not qualify for federal assistance. It left us having to cut down on spending for food, utilities, and daily supplies such as for school or work to use. Vacations were a luxury, and it literally took a village to assist my siblings and I getting our needs met completely before being eligible to apply for jobs.
I am very thankful to say that is not the case anymore, but simple living is not a choice still for my parents and many others in Kern County. To blame the individual is to blame communities of color and immigrant families for working overtime and paid pennies for making these corporations and economic systems work that do not invest back into us and our neighborhoods. To say it's a coincidence is also harmful, and us as a collective are attempting as much as we can during this difficult time to rightfully get what we need and our rights respected.