Santa Cruz County Demographic Profile

Demographic and Industry Profile of Santa Cruz County

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Santa Cruz County is beautiful and diverse.  But it is also expensive and divided.  Using the California Poverty Measure, 22% of the county’s 264,800 residents live below the poverty line.  And while the county is home to many professionals, many more toil in lower-wage jobs growing, cooking and serving our food; caring for our young, disabled or elderly; cleaning or repairing our yards and houses; and selling us goods and services at our favorite businesses.

What makes it a particular struggle for many low-wage workers is the high cost of housing in and around Santa Cruz.  According to the US Commerce Department, rent in the Santa Cruz-Wasonville area is 71% higher than the national average and Santa Cruz-Watsonville is the 5th most expensive metropolitan area in all of the United States – more expensive than even San Francisco-Oakland or Washington DC.