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Data: Ceres struggles with poverty, lack of education
21.1 percent of Cereans impoverished
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The average Ceres resident is younger and worse off than fellow Californians, according to data released recently by the U.S. Census Bureau's annual American Community Survey.

The survey gives this snapshot of a typical Ceres resident:

1). 29 years old.

2). Earns far less than the state average.

3). Less educated than other residents of California.

4). Likely Hispanic.

5). Owns their home, not renters.

While the Census data reveals that poverty levels decreased in Ceres and Stanislaus County, they are still formidably too high for struggling families who face bleak futures with less education and level job opportunities than found in other parts of the state.

An estimated 21.1 percent of all Ceres households live at or below the poverty level.

The median annual household income in Ceres is $48,550 which is $13,081 less than California as a whole.

Cereans tend to be less educated than residents living elsewhere in the Golden State. For example, 66.8 percent of those aged 25 and older in Ceres have earned high school diplomas when the state figure is 80.8 percent. Only 9.4 percent in Ceres have earned a bachelor's degree or higher - a figure dwarfed by the 30.9 percent in California who have achieved a higher degree. In Stanislaus County, 16.1 percent of residents earned a BA or higher.

However, due to affordable housing prices, more Cereans own and live in their home than the state average. Home ownership in Ceres is an estimated 64.3 percent, contrasted to the California percentage of 56.7 percent. Playing into homeownership is the fact that prices are lower in the Valley. The median value of a Ceres home is $205,300 - more than half of the state median value of $421,600.

Besides lacking education, hindering advancement of Ceres families is the language barrier.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau's annual American Community Survey, those in Ceres are more likely to not speak English than in a typical California city. An estimated 54.1 percent of the entire citizenry of Ceres lives in a household where English is not spoken. The California average is 43.2 percent - a difference of 8.8 percent. The survey states that 44.9 percent of Ceres households speak Spanish, of which 20.2 percent speak English "less than well."

Caucasians are now the minority in Ceres as the city's primary ethnic makeup is Hispanic. An estimated 25,436 Ceres residents (66 percent) are Latino. Whites comprise 31.4 percent of the population of Ceres while 6.8 percent are Asian and 1,185 residents (2.6 percent) are black.

By contrast the state averages 37.6 percent Latino.

The ACS data shows that Ceres community is also much younger than the average California city. The median age - the age at which half of all Cereans are above and half are below - is 29.4 years. That is far younger than the median age of 45.6 years for the state of California.

A breakdown of Ceres population shows that children stake the largest age category. The census estimates that 32.2 percent of all Ceres residents (14,623) are under the age of 18. The next greatest population block is the 25-44 year bracket where 12,506 fall. Over a quarter of all Cereans fall into this age group, or 27.5%. Older adults - those aged 45 to 64 - comprise the third largest age group with 21.3 percent, or 9,667 residents. Those between ages 18 and 24 account for 11.2 percent of Ceres' population (5,108).

Senior citizens aged 65 or older form the smallest group - 3,517 residents, or just 7.7 percent. In California the senior population is 11.4 percent.

Ceres now has 45,719 residents, a slight increase from the 2010 U.S. Census figure of 45,417. That translates to a density of 5,663.2 people per square mile.

Ceres households continue to be similar to state make up in term of social makeup. A total of 7,311 households (57.6%) were comprised of opposite-sex married couples living together while 2,211 (17.4%) were single female householder with no husband present. A total of 1,053 (8.3%) households were led by single male men. There are 976 (7.7%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships in Ceres, and just 76 (0.6%) gay or lesbian couples. A total of 1,586 households (12.5%) were made up of single individuals and 628 (4.9%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older.