Poverty in CA

2 Oct

A quick post-and-run: Stanford’s Center on Poverty and Inequality just released a new, more nuanced analysis of poverty in CA that takes into consideration the cost of living in CA and realistic expenses like out-of-pocket medical expenses. According to the CA Poverty Measure:

“22 percent of Californians [and 25 percent of children in CA] 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” (http://news.stanford.edu/pr/2013/pr-poverty-index-california-100113.html).

The findings are particularly alarming given the current government shut down, and raise the question: how will the Center’s findings matter to public policy? Will greater clarity about living poverty in CA lead, as the Center hopes, to “meaningful policy debate” and action? And on a personal note: what do I do with this information? How do I translate this report into meaningful action in my own life and work?

You can read more about the CA Poverty Measure here: http://www.stanford.edu/group/scspi/cpm_overview.html.

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