Housing costs are so high in Los Angeles that nearly half of households are spending over 30% of their income just to keep their homes, even cutting into income that should be available for other basic needs such as food and healthcare. While the poverty rate in LA county is at 16%, United Ways of California says it isn’t a good measure of how much people are actually struggling. They call their statistic the “real cost measure,” and it consists of costs for housing, healthcare, food, transportation, childcare, taxes, and miscellaneous expenses. Using the real cost measure, 38% of LA county residents fail to meet their basic needs, over twice the poverty rate. The value is slightly lower statewide at about 33% and in the poorest areas of LA county soars to 82%. High rents are also a problem, with people who recently lost a job or had an unexpected expense being unable to afford rent due to such a large percent of their income covering basic needs.