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  • Charles Grosh

California ranks #1 in poverty

Updated: 10 hours ago

#california was given a first-place title this week that it doesn’t want.

"How does California stack up nationally?

The U.S. Census Bureau measures poverty in two ways every year.

Official poverty measure: The official measure compares all states the same based on income.


Supplemental poverty measure: This measure calculates poverty rates by taking into account the many government programs designed to assist low-income families and individuals that are not included in the official poverty measures. It is this measure that gives us a better idea of what’s going on in a state like California.


By the supplemental poverty measure, California’s estimated poverty rate is 19 percent. While it is a 1.4 percent decrease from the previous year, the rate remains the highest among states. It accounts for about 7.5 million Californians. "


At the official measure, the country had a poverty rate of 12.3 percent in 2017. That’s 39.7 million people.
Homeless Population is growing.


"The main culprit? Experts say it’s the high cost of housing.


“We do have a housing crisis in many parts of the state and our poverty rate is highest in Los Angeles County,” Caroline Danielson, policy director at the Public Policy Institute of California, told The Sacramento Bee. “When you factor that in we struggle.”

Sara Kimberlin, senior policy analyst at the nonprofit California Budget and Policy Center, agrees.


“A really key reason why California’s poverty rate is so high is that we have very high housing costs in many parts of the state,” she told Capital Public Radio. “And even in areas of the state where housing costs are not as high, many people struggle with high housing cost burden.”


The California Budget and Policy Center has reported that median household rents in California have risen 13.2 percent from 2006 to 2016, while median annual earnings for full-time workers grew by only 4.1 percent during that period. In Southern California, for example, the median cost of homes hit $536,250 over the summer."


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