New report reveals in which states poverty is above national average

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The stock market is rocking! Housing is making a comeback. Jobs are being filled and economic data shows a bullish ride for the for months to come.  However, there remains a problem.

New data from the U.S. Census Bureau reveals that one in five Californians lives in poverty, the highest rate in the country, according to “The Supplemental Poverty Measure: 2016” report.

The national rate has dropped slightly, from 15.1 percent to 14.7 percent. The percentage reflects people who lived in poverty under the supplemental measure during the latest three-year average, compared to the percentage for the previous three years.

“There were 13 states plus the District of Columbia for which [Supplemental Poverty Measure] rates were higher than official poverty rates,” the report states. According to the report, those states are:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Virginia

The Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) rate for the District of Columbia was also higher.

The report, which factors in cost of living, shows that 20.4 percent of California’s residents lived below the poverty line in a three-year average of 2014, 2015 and 2016. That number is nearly the same as the last average of 20.6 percent in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

“Higher SPM rates by state may occur for many reasons,” the report states. “Geographic adjustments for housing costs and/or different mixes of housing tenure may result in higher SPM thresholds. Higher nondiscretionary expenses, such as taxes or medical expenses, may also drive higher SPM rates.”

Experts say that California’s higher supplemental rate reflects the impact of higher housing prices, as well as other costs.

“Californians are more likely to be poor than residents in any other state,” said Sara Kimberlin, a senior policy analyst at the California Budget and Policy Center.

Under the official poverty measure, 14.5 percent of California residents live in poverty, which is down from 15 percent under the previous assessment.

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