The California Workers report provides a portrait of the working lives of Californians.

Through this research, we learned more about the day-to-day experiences, the values and aspirations, and the common challenges that California workers struggling with poverty face at work and in their daily lives.

THEME 1: Precariousness: Despite record-low unemployment, California workers are struggling

Nearly one-third (31 percent) of all Californians, and nearly half of California workers reported struggling with poverty. Struggling workers experience economic vulnerability and hardships on a regular basis and have often made difficult financial tradeoffs to make ends meet.


THEME 2: Pessimism: Californian workers are losing hope in the American Dream

The American Dream feels out of reach for working Californians – and harder to achieve here than in other states. On the one hand, Californian workers report their economic situation as better than the one they were born into, but they are also skeptical that hard work and determination alone guarantee success.


THEME 3: Resilience: Californians endure various hardships – and are vulnerable – on the job

Californian workers struggling economically reported disproportionate hardships at their workplace compared to those who are economically secure. 


THEME 4: Values: California workers still strive for a better life and career

 Working Californians who are struggling tend to believe that the deck is stacked against them economically, but they also see the importance of workers organizing to protect their rights.


THEME 5: Demographic Differences: People of color are critical to the state and its workforce – and express different, often challenging experiences

A majority (60%) of Californians who are working and struggling with poverty are Latino. At the same time, Latinos are particularly likely to feel dispensable at work and more than three-quarters (76%) say that employers see people like them as replaceable.