California poverty rate highest in nation, report says

November 7, 2013

povertyNearly a quarter of Californians live in poverty, according to a Census Bureau calculation that includes cost of living. [SacramentoBee]

California’s official poverty rate is 16.5 percent, which is above the national average, but not one of the highest in the nation.

But, with cost of living included, California has 9 million people living in poverty — a 23.8 percent poverty rate. The state has 38 million residents.

Only Washington D.C., which is 22.7 percent impoverished, has a rate near California’s, according to the alternative calculation method.

The second highest rate among states belongs to Nevada at 19.8 percent.

The federal government distributes aid based on poverty rates. If the calculation that includes cost of living replaces the current official rate, California will become eligible for increases in funding for federal and state programs.


Theo P. Neustic

I am confident that after the success of the affordable care act, immigration reform will straighten things right out.


When you subsidize a certain behavior or lifestyle, you get more of it.


When you subsidize a certain behavior or lifestyle, you get more of it.


Ain’t that the truth.

Have you heard theme advertising for people to get on govt. aid? It’s amazing. I actually heard a radio commercial, just like any other commercial, pitching Californians on govt. aid.



You seen to not have thought of the elderly, poverty stricken widows who are too old and frail to work who may not be aware of various aid programs.

It’s way too easy to spout off all cocky and arrogant and critical as you live your comfortable, sheltered life, oblivious to anything that doesn’t fit into your preconceived notions.


I have been hearing them for a couple of years now… adults and seniors bragging to their friends how it’s so easy to qualify and (inferred) no shame whatsoever! Yeah, just get on some government assistance and live a happy life! What could possibly go wrong?!!?

Worse is when I see a young 20-something in the supermarket checkout paying with EBT. It bugs me that they were buying some pricey stuff, whereas I’m constantly looking for the deals and sales, etc.

The old adage of “something only has value when it costs us something” came to mind.


From the Sac. Bee article: ” alternative Census Bureau calculation that includes the cost of living.” So Sam Clemens had it right when he said, “There are three types of liars: LIARS, DAMN LIARS, and STATISTICIANS.” The “alternative method” of arriving at this “highest in the Nation stat is not the stat that is used to figure Fed apportionments for Govt. aid. Trusting/accepting ANY statistic without verifying how it is arrived at is just plain ignorant.


Could it be offset by how mangled the unemployment calculation has been the last 10 years or so? Unemployment numbers are constantly re-tweaked when they figure out a new way to keep them below 10%.


the federal reserve has the mandate for employment levels, make them do their job!


I would love to live in mid town Manhattan, but can not afford the cost of living expenses.

What happened to living within your means. I think this is called responsibility. If you can not afford to live in California you should find a State that you can afford. Just what is “fair share” of what someone else has worked for??


So, it’s time for all those low wage earners, welfare recipients, unemployed (earning unemployment benefits or not) and other “undesirables” to move? The low wage earners would of course take their jobs with them, right? The welfare recipients would sign up in the other state, right? Transferring that burden to their new “home”, right? And those who are unemployed would be, well, still unemployed, and now burdensome to their new “home”, right?

What an asinine, self-serving, uninformed and arrogant statement! Why don’t you move to mid-town Manhattan instead? Take your arrogant euro-american self and move in with other like minded individuals in a 750 square foot apartment that goes for $3,500.00 a month and count your lucky stars you don’t live in or around those “irresponsible ones living outside of their means” who call California home?! Please, go now!

The problem here is twofold; “AFFORDABLE HOUSING” is numero uno!! In California, the fair market rent (as determined by HUD) for a two-bedroom apartment is over $1,300.00 a month. In order to afford this type of rent, coupled with utilities, without paying more than 30 percent of income on housing (rental industry standard), a household must earn over $4,400.00 monthly or almost $54,000.00 annually. “A LIVING WAGE” is numero dos!! In a state where the minimum wage is $8.00 an hour a household must have over 3 minimum wage earners working 40 hours per week, year-round, in order to afford rent for a two-bedroom apartment.

But this is what you want anyway, right? You want all the catchings of a “destination location”, where the rich come to spend their money and the even wealthier live, right? And that can’t happen if your property value is going to be affected by those who would serve you, and the affluent traveler, would live right next door to you in affordable housing, right?

The majority of those who work in a service industry that serves all of you in one form or another, whether it be at McDonald’s, Costco, Target, Home Depot, Motel 6, the Hyatt or any the other service based industry cannot afford to pay rent and the other cost of living expenses without cohabiting with others, a simple fact of life in a day-and-age where the wage earned doesn’t cover the cost(s) of life for the majority of us.

Good God! The maturity level on the Central Coast has gone to the highest bidder! I guess its correct in thinking that most have a price….

Just sayin’….


I thought you were starting to describe Mexico’s strategy in dealing with poverty… just export it!


Geez rOy, Brillant idea rOy, problem is Mexicans are hardworking, and send their pay checks back to Mexico which in turn helps the Mexican economy.

The only point I was trying to make… If California is too expensive. Just maybe look for available jobs in a more affordable State where they can provide themselves with a decent affordable lifestyle. I, and many others came from other Countries to reach their goals for a better life. Why is it such a far stretch to ask people who really want work other than minimum wage jobs, and a decent lifestyle to find it in another State.



Thank you for your comment. I have worked since the age of 12, and I moved to the USA in the early 70’s residing in California for 40 years. I did not receive the best of education. I left high school at 15, and my further education consisted of what “I” could afford, and what I learned in the real world. No job was too good for me, and I have never never ever received public assistance in my life.

The only time I worked for minimum wage was between the age of 12 to l5 when I lived at home. My family were working class not well educated, but all had jobs. Why did they work, because it was a disgrace and frowned upon not to. After the age of 15 I had two jobs one regular pay, and the evening job minimum wage. Why did I work two jobs because I knew at that tender age minimum wage was not expected to provide me with a roof over my head and food. Did I have a car, no I caught the bus to and from work. Did I eat out, no I budgeted my money and bought only what I could afford. Did I live in a ritzy neighborhood, no I lived where my means would allow me to live.

Common sense tells people that they should not be able to live well, drive a car, have babies, have cable TV, possess a credit card….. on minimum wage. They should move to Australia minimum wage $16, but have to pay $20 for a cup of coffee and a muffin…..

Do I have empathy for those who have lost their jobs YES lets help them stay on their feet. Do I have empathy or respect for those who have never had a job and make their living off the people who do..NO There are a lot of people migrating to California just for the great weather, and the benefits that are thrown at them. I know people who would love to come to live in sunny California. Why aren’t these people moving here, because they can NOT afford to live here…. If there are no jobs to be had in California (only minimum wage) Then you need to go and find a State that does have work with enough money to keep a roof over your head and food in your belly.

I live within my means, if I couldn’t find a decent job or housing i could afford, then stupid me would go somewhere I could. I definitely would not gripe and expect others to provide what “I” think I should have or that “I” am entitled to. I am entitled to live where I can afford. Minimum wage is for students, second job, or retired citizens not household providers.

I would love to know where that 750sqft apartment is for $3,500 what a bargain!!

I have friends paying double that for less space. Guess working hard all your life really does pays off…. Oh I love California and the hard working people, didn’t mean would move out of the State…. sorry. Already have place in Manhattan !!!


No, you are entitled to live where you want not where you can afford! Please try and remember you reside in a country with a Constitution and Bill of Rights that insure certain inalienable rights and civil liberties, one of which is the freedom to choose your place of residence. This “right to life” lets you choose where you want to live and the freedom to live however you like.

Who’s griping? Not me! All I’m stating is certain facts; facts that those with a price connected to their opinion all but ignore. The fact of the matter is the vast majority of those like you don’t want “the help” living anywhere near them; bus them in, make them commute, have ’em walk, who gives a damn! Just don’t have them living in their affordable housing next to me! Yes, they can serve me my meal, park my car, mow my lawn, stock the shelves, but, they had better keep their serfdom asses elsewhere after business hours!

Why should I have to move from my home state, my home county, my place of birth to somewhere I don’t want to be so I can “afford” to live? What’s even more disconcerting to me is the fact that you can actually garner support for such an asinine statement and point of view. I, you, should have the opportunity to live anywhere you and I choose, no matter our income!

But hell no! The elite will have their way in the most desirable locations in this country to call home; they always have and always will! But guess what? One day your income won’t allow you to live here either, you’ll be priced right out the back door as well. And, you’ll only have your self to blame!

Bye-the-way… You can have midtown Manhattan! I’ve spent a little time there and I wouldn’t live there if I was paid to… to crowded and too many folks with their noses closed up as not to smell the help, just like you!

Just sayin’….



It’s been a long time since you hired any “help”. Just had house cleaning

$600 ($60 an hour) for 5 hours 2 people. Window cleaning inside and out $2,500 (did also clean my mirrors). Pay house cleaning in another state $2,500. Pool service, landscaping service, I could go on. Restaurant service minimum tip 30%. Valet never less than a $20 love my cars, and depending where I am can go up to $100. Valet jobs are a premium and if a Valet is leaving can sell his position for thousands$$$. All these service help workers make good money. Are fast food workers making great tips, doubt it I do not enjoy fast food, so you can not blame me for treating these workers badly….If you do, hope you leave a big thank you tip.

I have no idea, nor do I care what my neighbors professions are. It would make no difference if my neighbor was a gardener (other than he may have a nicer garden than me)

Bring on affordable housing, I grew up in county owned housing. We were working people, honest and clean. Wouldn’t mind neighbors like that…

The “Helps” father needed surgery, would not do it until the doctors and hospital were paid. Money was wired. Father died three days later paid funeral bill.

The “Helps” brother was killed in auto accident in California paid for casket and airfare home to his family for burial.

.Never ask anyone to leave by the back door. And yes if they need to use the bathroom I let them use one that is inside my home!!!….. Never received a “Chocolate cake” yet from the “Help”

I do not walk around with my nose in the air, but have a feeling that your head is definitely up your ass. You have no idea what goes on around you.Don’t worry about me being priced out. I am a responsible person who does not have to rely on a government check for the roof over my head and food on my table. I know you will be sorry to hear this but I do have the means to live in California until death do us part…


So, which is it? “… I grew up in county owned housing.” or “…I have never never ever received public assistance in my life.” Wait a minute! I get it now! It was your parents that lived in county (public assistance subsidized) housing, you just stayed there because you had to, right? So, what they did was wrong? A burden to all those around them? Or because it was YOUR parents, YOUR home, it was just fine?! They couldn’t afford to be here so they took advantage of a public assistance program so they could, right? Are you a Hypocrite?! You betcha!

Bye-the-way…. It was a chocolate “pie” not a cake! But, then again, with you, one always means the other, right?

I would go on with this but your hypocritical statements make your whole argument, and its precepts, a lie.

Just sayin’….


No suprise for a state that provides college $ for illegals. No suprise at all.


what on Earth does loans and grants for education have to do with the poverty rate? besides the amont of hot gases created?


I am sure they does have an effect… >_>


Actually, providing “college $ for illegals” is likely LOWERING the level of poverty in California.


Yeah, and other than the article herein and the government’s own statistics, you might be right!


Illegal immigrants represent 6.8% of California’s population. Of that 6.8%, how many are part of the 16.5% or 23.8%?


Illegal immigration, according to most reputable studies, helps state economies.

Illegal immigrants essentially subsidize the wealthy by lowering the cost of farming and thus subsidizing the cost of food.


Hahahahahahahaha! Now that is funny!


Oh yeah? well one day we are going to have a super fast train and the lowest carbon footprint in the universe ….so there!


Nhuh-uh! We’re totally not on track to meet that 2050 goal – we better throw some more money at the green monster, less it eat us all!

Now… bow down and kiss the green ring!

Jorge Estrada

I totally disagree with these stats. This is a contrived report for the benefit of public opinion which gets morphed into truth. California may have males that are candidates for Home Coming Queen, legal pot farms in residential back yards and theiving politicians but poverty is not that prevalent among the legal full-time residents.

Legal and full-time must be the qualifier for welfare grant money.