Stanford just released its new poverty index for California, and the statistics are grim. Among the eye-popping numbers: 25 percent of all children here live in poverty, as well as 30 percent of the state's immigrant population. Expensive housing, especially in urban areas, and a weak job market are among the contributor factors.
A Stanford News story today discusses more of the findings and their significance:
Under the new measure, 22 percent of Californians live in poverty, and that figure would be even higher if not for the state and federal safety nets, including CalFresh, the state's food stamp program; CalWORKs, the state's cash assistance program; and the federal Earned Income Tax Credit.
If these programs were not in place, the child poverty rate would increase by another 12 percentage points, raising it from nearly 25 percent to nearly 37 percent of all children.
The research helps to establish that California, often thought of as the land of plenty, is "in fact the land of poverty," [David Grusky, PhD, a sociology professor who serves as the director of Stanford's Center on Poverty and Inequality] said. It also shows, he said, that those who "want to cut back the food stamp program have to own up to the poverty-increasing effects of that change."
"We developed the California Poverty Measure because we can't have a meaningful policy debate in this state without knowing how proposed changes in policy will affect the lives of real Californians," he said.