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Consequences of Inequality Within Sonoma County
A brief opinion piece about economic inequality within Sonoma County.
Within Sonoma County, we have a minimum wage disparity that drastically affects the cost of living. When we look at the demographics of the working class, we see that the percentage of Latinos who are considered working class and are in poverty has remained the same. In 2005, the percentage of Latinos below the 200% poverty level was 44.6%. Citing a 2016 study done by North Bay Jobs for Justice, that number has barely decreased to 44.5%. In contrast, the White population of Sonoma County went from 18% in poverty to 19% in poverty (NBJWJ, 15). These two groups are the most prominent within Sonoma County. Seeing how significantly more affected by poverty Latinos are within the same area draws confusion. Since both reside within the same community, both groups should have the same opportunities for economic growth. This is an ongoing issue that affects many families, even today. Such a phenomenon only serves to further widen the income gap between racial groups within the county. Every human has the right to basic needs such as water, food, shelter, etc. When one group within an area is suffering more drastically as opposed to the others, we need to understand that this is an issue rooted within our economic system. In order to fix this inequality, we must educate ourselves and our neighbors on assistance programs. We must advocate on behalf of those whose voices are not heard. We have to consider the actual cost of living within Sonoma County and provide a realistic living wage for those living here.