Thanks to High Cost of Living, California’s Poverty Rate is Highest Among 50 States

California has the fifth largest economy in the world. It also has the highest poverty rate of all 50 states, second only to Washington, D.C.

The US Census Bureau has put California’s supplemental poverty rate — adjusted for the cost of living — at 18.2% for the year 2018. The national average was 13.2%. Iowa had the lowest adjusted poverty rate of any state (6.8%).

The figures will surprise no one who has been confronted with the reality of housing costs and homelessness in California. The Golden State is a magnificent place to live. But it’s a land of haves and have nots, with homes and rents unaffordable for too many. Leaders say that needs to change.

Sen. Scott Wiener, who authored the transit housing bill that was shelved until next year, had this to say:

“California, once again, has the highest poverty rate among the 50 states when cost of living is taken into account. Until we grapple with with our 3.5M home shortage - which drives people into poverty - we’ll continue to hold this negative distinction.”


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