California poverty rate now highest in the nation — by FAR
RIDER COMMENT: The story below has prompted me to add an unpleasant fact to my “California vs. the Other 49 States” fact sheet. As is my policy, I had to drop another telling fact, trying to keep the piece to two printed pages.
The new fact is based on a more sophisticated measure of poverty, now used by the U.S. Census Bureau. It’s called the “Supplemental Poverty Measure,” and better reflects the cost of living in a state or region. The old poverty figure used the same dollar threshold regardless of where one resided. This one adjusts for costs — first and foremost housing costs.
The result doesn’t work well for California. We’ve vaulted to the top spot — the WORST poverty rate in the nation.
And not by a small margin. We are at 23.5%, compared with the national average of 16.1%. The second worst state is Florida is at 19.5%.
Stated differently, California’s real poverty rate is 55.7% higher than the average for the other 49 states (not including CA). And CA is 20.5% worse than its nearest challenger Florida.
The dropped fact? — The one about CA community colleges offering thousands of enrichment courses (including ballroom dancing and baking pastries) for little or (far more commonly) no student cost.