Most Bay Area adults without a high school degree do not make enough money to cover basic living expenses, according to a report released Tuesday by the United Way of the Bay Area.

The report, entitled “Struggling to Make Ends Meet,” found that local families require three minimum-wage salaries to cover the basic necessities of living and running a household in the costly Bay Area.

More than 168,000 households in the 10-county region are headed by someone who did not complete high school, according to the United Way.

Nearly 60 percent of these households have inadequate incomes, according to the California Self-Sufficiency Standard, an emerging standard in measuring poverty that factors in a region’s cost of living. By comparison, about 15 percent of households headed by someone with at least some college education report inadequate earnings.

The report, based on 2007 U.S. Census data, also found that families headed by single women are nearly twice as likely to have incomes below the self-sufficiency level compared with two-parent households.

A disproportionate amount of black and Latino households also fall below adequate income levels, according to the report.

While local United Way chapters still focus on providing emergency assistance with food, rent and utilities, the organization is also working to create more opportunities for education and training to help families climb out of poverty, according to Anne Wilson, CEO of the United Way of the Bay Area.

Such measures can enable local residents living in or near poverty “to earn higher wages, advance up career ladders, support their families and contribute to our region’s success over the long term,” she said in a statement.

The 2007 data also shows that these conditions existed before the recent economic downturn, according to the United Way.

The Bay Area calculations incorporate data from Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano and Sonoma counties. The entire California report is available at

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