The US Census Bureau this morning released new national and state-level figures for the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM). The SPM significantly improves on the official poverty measure by better accounting for the cost of living as well as for the various resources (including noncash benefits like tax credits and food assistance) that help families to cover basic expenses.

A new Budget Center analysis discusses the latest SPM data, which show that an average of 7.5 million Californians — about 1 in 5 — struggled to make ends meet between 2015 and 2017. California’s poverty rate of 19.0% puts it among the highest of all 50 states, in a statistical tie for first with Florida (18.1%) and Louisiana (17.7%).

The Budget Center’s analysis discusses how high housing costs in California, which continue to grow, contribute to the state’s poverty rate under the Supplemental Poverty Measure. This analysis underscores the importance of California continuing to pursue public policies that address the state’s housing challenges and also highlights how certain federal proposals, such as deep cuts to SNAP food assistance (CalFresh in our state), would create greater economic hardship in California and nationally.

Read the analysis.
Reminder: Facebook Live, Tomorrow 2:00 p.m.: Interested in hearing more about what the new Census figures mean economic opportunity and overall well-being in our state? Join us tomorrow, Thursday, September 13, at 2:00 p.m. for a Facebook Live discussion featuring State Policy Fellow Esi Hutchful, Senior Policy Analyst Sara Kimberlin, and Director of Research Scott Graves. We’ll share highlights from the new data and take your questions and comments.


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