Jeff Smith 2 p.m., Dec. 12
Richest 20% Get 49% of County Income; Poorest 20% Get 4%
More than 100,000 San Diego County residents fell from the middle class into poverty or severe economic hardship in the past two years, according to the Center on Policy Initiatives, which interpreted U.S. Census data released today (Sept. 28). The county's poverty rate rose to 12.6% from 11.1% in 2007. Meanwhile, the wealthiest one-fifth of San Diegans raked in 49% of all income, while the poorest one-fifth got only 4%, said CPI. Of the 374,000 county residents below the federal poverty line, more than 121,000 were children -- leading to a stunning 17% childhood poverty rate, according to the liberal-leaning think tank.