California has the highest poverty level of all states in the US, according to US Census Bureau data
An aerial view of San Francisco's first temporarily sanctioned tented camp for the homeless on May 18, 2020 in San Francisco, California. The city opened its first temporary sanctioned tent camp following public outrage over a spate of homeless people and tents filling the streets of San Francisco during the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).
California has the highest poverty rate in the US, according to a report by the Census Bureau.
The District of Columbia was the only place with a higher poverty rate than California.
Even so, the three-year average poverty in California has fallen significantly since 2018.
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According to a September 2021 report by the US Census Bureau, California remains the state with the highest poverty rate in the US.
In the report, three-year averages of the poverty line were calculated for each state and the District of Columbia using the supplementary poverty measure, which found that 15.4% of California's residents lived in poverty from 2018 to 2020. Only the District of Columbia had a higher poverty rate - 16.5%.
The supplementary poverty measure extends the official poverty measure developed in the 1960s by social security scholar Mollie Orshansky by including cost of living, labor and medical expenses, tax credits, and government programs to support low-income families and individuals.
By comparison, the three-year average of the poverty line in California has declined significantly from 17.2% in 2019 and 18.1% in 2018.
Social security transfers and incentive payments prevented a total of 38.2 million people in the US from falling into poverty, while medical expenses caused the largest increase in the number of people living in poverty, according to the Census Bureau report.
Californians benefited most from government programs like the Earned Income Tax Credit, CalFresh, and Child Tax Credit, which each cut poverty rates in California by more than 1% in 2019, according to a study by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC).
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