According to a September 2021 report from the US Census Bureau, California continues to have the highest poverty rate in the country.
According to the report, titled The Supplemental Poverty Measure: 2020, 15.4 percent of California residents lived in poverty from 2018 to 2020, surpassing states such as Mississippi, Florida, and Louisiana.
According to the report, no other state had a higher rate than California, with the District of Columbia coming in at 16.5 percent.
The Census Bureau measures poverty in a variety of ways, one of which is the Supplemental Poverty Measure.
Mollie Orshansky, a Social Security economist, developed this calculation method in the 1960s, taking into account regional cost of living, work and medical expenses, tax credits, and the effects of government aid.
Its purpose was to help low-income families and individuals.
Meanwhile, in comparison to California, the most populous states in the country have significantly reduced their three-year poverty level average from 17.2 percent in 2019 to 18.1 percent in 2018.
According to experts, California’s high poverty rate is primarily due to unaffordable housing costs, as revealed in Tuesday’s report.
“California is a state that has relatively high wages. It has relatively well-supported safety net programs,” Caroline Danielson, senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California, told local Laist.com news website.
“But we are not keeping up in terms of making housing affordable for all families.”
A minimum wage worker would need to earn $23.96 per hour to comfortably afford a two-bedroom rental in California, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
The state’s minimum wage increased to $14 per hour on January 1, 2021, which is 41.6 percent less than the rate required to afford a two-bedroom unit.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development established guidelines stating that renters should spend no more than 30% of their annual income on rent in order to cover other non-discretionary expenses such as food, utilities, insurance, automotive repairs, clothing, and medical.