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2021 PPIC Statewide Survey: Californians and Their Economic Well-Being

Mark Baldassare, Dean Bonner, Rachel Lawler, and Deja Thomas

With support from Irvine, in November 2021 the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) released the second annual PPIC Statewide Survey: Californians and Their Economic Well-Being, focused on the topic of economic inequality and mobility. Key findings from the survey include: 

  • A majority (62%) of Californians say that their finances today are the same as last year, but low-income Californians are more likely to say they are worse off and to express that it would be difficult to pay for a $1,000 emergency expense.  
  • Twenty-eight percent of Californians faced reduced pay or hours in the last 12 months, with lower-income households much more likely than those with a higher-income to have faced reductions.  
  • Twenty-five percent of Californians and 36% of lower-income residents worry every day or almost every day about housing costs. 
  • About eight in 10 Californians across partisan and demographic groups agree that it is important for workers to organize to protect themselves.  
  • Most adults believe children growing up in California today will be worse off financially than their parents.  


The PPIC Statewide Survey delivers nonpartisan, objective, advocacy-free information on the perceptions, opinions, and public policy preferences of California residents. The survey is conducted regularly throughout the year in the key areas of government, the environment, K–12 education, and higher education.