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Home[1] | Wire[2] | California Has the Nation's Worst Poverty Rate, New Census Data Shows

The US Census Bureau released new poverty data this month[3], and California once again has the nation's highest poverty rate, according to the "Supplemental Poverty Measure."

According to the SPM, California's poverty rate in 2018 was 18.1 percent, followed by Louisiana with 16.5 percent, and Florida, with 16.2 percent.

The states with the lowest poverty rates per the period were Iowa at 6.7 percent, Minnesota at 7 percent, and Kansas at 7.8 percent.

The 2018 report shows a slight general decline in poverty rates throughout the nation in recent years. According to the 2015 report, for example, California's poverty rate was over twenty percent, and the state with the lowest poverty rate — Minnesota — was at eight percent.


The SPM measure contrasts with the old "official" poverty measure developed in the 1960s. The old measure tends to apply a blanket standard for poverty nationwide, but the SPM takes into account local housing costs and also " extends [5] the official poverty measure by taking account of many of the government programs designed to assist low-income families and [6] individuals[7]."

Using the old measure, California ranks considerably better, because, of course, nominal incomes in California are considerably higher than in rural states and many other regions with much lower costs of living.


The cost of living in California cannot simply be waved away, however, especially when California so often dominates lists of the least-affordable housing markets in the United States[8].

Thus, it should not be surprising...

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