The Need in OC

The Need in OC

closer than you think

24.3% of the county's children live below the poverty line.

Due to the high cost of living in Orange County, many working families are pushed into poverty. Contrary to its reputation as the land of beaches, tourism, and vast wealth, many Orange County residents face a multitude of barriers to economic stability – made evident by the fact that 24.3% of the county’s children are living below the poverty line. 

 For some, poverty is just one layoff, medical bill, divorce, or accident away; this is situational poverty. For others, poverty is a cyclical reality that generations of families struggle to escape; this is generational poverty. Those caught in the cycle of generational poverty are often forced to solely focus on survival: getting enough food on the table tomorrow, paying this month’s rent on time. Children of these families have rarely seen a family member advance at a job, or benefit from education. For families in generational poverty, planning for a better life is difficult, especially since changing one’s circumstances requires control and resources. Breaking the cycle of generational poverty and overcoming situational poverty requires both immediate access to services that assist families in areas impacting their daily lives, and programs that affect the long-term outcomes of a family’s circumstances – both of which Friendly Center provides through its 20+ free programs for children and families.

Did You Know?

Did You Know?


The percentage of OC children eligible for free & reduced lunch.


The percentage of low-income households that face hunger at least once a day in OC.


The percentage of households in OC living in poverty.

The estimated number of kids in OC who are homeless or reside in unstable housing situations such as in motel rooms.

Generational Poverty

The best way to break the cycle of poverty is by preventing it in the next generation. By providing young people with a stable home environment and educational support, you are providing them tools to succeed. When they succeed, they can plan a better life for themselves and their families.

1. Family struggles in poverty

2. Child grows up living in poverty

3. Child behind in skills & education

4. Struggles to get a steady or good job

5. Fails to escape poverty cycle

Effects of Poverty
on Learning

  • Children in poverty have higher absenteeism or leave school all together due to likelihood of having to work or care for family members.
  • Less than 30% of students from low-income families enroll in a 4-year university. Among that group – less than 50% graduate.
  • By the end of the 4th grade, low-income students are already two years behind grade level when compared to their peers.

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