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California Is America's Poorest State?

California is the state with more billionaires than any place in America except America itself. SoCal coastal property is gold. And Hollywood generates billions.

But, according to a new U.S. Census measure of poverty, we're also tops in poor people.

Yep, the bureau's "Supplemental Poverty Measure" numbers, culled from 2011 stats, say that ...

... California has a whopping poverty rate of 23.5 percent, meaning that nearly one in every four of us is straight up poor.

The Golden State ranks number one in poverty, then, beating out all comers (Washington, D.C. came close with a 23.2 percent rate); Florida ranked second among states.

The old or "official" poverty rate is 16.3 percent. Why the big jump?

California Is America's Poorest State?
Julien Dudoglu

For one, Census officials explain, they're taking into account geographic differences, including cost of living. You see, it's a lot more expensive to live in California than just about anywhere else, so even a fulltime job can put you in the poorhouse here.

Kathleen Short, the report's author, says:

... The supplemental measure uses new poverty thresholds that represent a dollar amount spent on a basic set of goods adjusted to reflect geographic differences in housing costs. The official poverty thresholds are the same no matter where you live.

According to the Census, the new numbers also ...

... deduct from income necessary expenses for critical goods and services such as taxes, child care and other work-related expenses, and contributions toward the cost of medical care and health insurance premiums or medical out-of-pocket costs.

So, if you've been feeling poor lately, maybe you are. At least you're not lonely. You have plenty of company.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]


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