A US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) income limit report says Orange County has the fifth-highest income threshold in the country.
HUD says a family of four with an annual income of $84,450 or less or a single person earning $58,450 annually are considered to be low income.
Government and private agencies use HUD's calculations to decide the qualifications for various assistance programs.
Private affordable housing projects built with federal low-income tax credits use it to determine resident eligibility and for nonprofit groups providing down-payment assistance or low-cost mortgages.
High rents and home prices are pushing Southern California income limits higher.
OC apartment rents have increased 20 percent over the last seven years and the median sale price of an Orange County house has jumped over 40 percent.
Executive director of an Irvine-based affordable housing advocacy group Cesar Covarrubias says the limits make things difficult for everyone.
“When you tell somebody that’s making $70,000 that they’re low income, they go, ‘What? That’s low income?’ Unfortunately, that’s what comes from living in a high-cost county...that makes it difficult for working families at all levels.”