There has been some disagreement of late about how many Americans are facing the most dire forms of poverty. In light of this discussion, our new fact sheet on poverty in California is especially relevant. Are there 20,000 Californians in deep poverty? 200,000? Or 2 million? By using administrative and survey data to deliver the California Poverty Measure, the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality and the Public Policy Institute of California are able to address these and other key questions. Here’s what we found:
  • The deep poverty rate is high: 2.1 million Californians lived in deep poverty in 2016. This is unchanged from 2015.
  • Nearly 20 percent of Californians are poor: 7.4 million Californians lived in poverty in 2016. Over the last five years, California poverty has declined just 11 percent.
  • The safety net protects against poverty: Without safety net programs, an additional 4.8 million Californians would be poor.
Read the fact sheet to learn more.
A Primer on the California Poverty Measure
The California Poverty Measure (CPM) is a new index that improves upon conventional poverty measures. The CPM tracks necessary expenditures, adjusts for geographic differences in housing costs, and includes food stamps and other non-cash benefits as resources available to poor families. Do you want to learn more? Check out
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The Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality, a program of the Institute for Research in the Social Sciences, is partly supported by the Corporation for National and Community Service, the Elfenworks Foundation, the Charitable Giving Fund of Tides Foundation, Laura and John Arnold Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the Russell Sage Foundation, Sunlight Giving, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, The Ballmer Group, and The James Irvine Foundation.

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