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UC Berkeley Labor Center provides valuable information about California workers

The James Irvine Foundation is privileged to support research by the UC Berkeley Labor Center to expand what we know about Californians paid low wages and the issues they face. The Center recently updated its Low-Wage Work in California Data Explorer. The online resource provides in-depth data, including numbers of workers, demographics, job quality, occupations, industries, and geography, to paint a clearer picture of California’s low-wage workforce.

The data shows that California has much to do to ensure all low-income workers have the power to advance economically, a goal for the Irvine Foundation. Key insights reveal important facts and correct long-held misconceptions about California workers:

  • One out of every three working Californians is paid low wages, defined as earning under $18.02 per hour. That amounts to 4.3 million workers or 11% of the population.
  • Workers of color and women make up most of California’s low-wage workforce. Nearly 60% are Latinx, and more than half are women, which is consistent across all demographic groups.
  • Most of California’s low-income workers are adults, not teens, and about four out of ten are the sole earners in their families.
  • Most low-wage work is full-time, and many part-time low-wage workers prefer to work full time.
  • 45% of low-wage workers have at least some college education, and about one in seven has a bachelor’s or advanced degree.

Access to this vital information helps policymakers, civic and nonprofit leaders, and those in philanthropy better understand and identify solutions that can make a difference in the lives of California families. Learn more by visiting the data explorer here.