According to new census data, California has the worst poverty rate in the nation

SACRAMENTO – California’s poverty rate is the worst in the country, according to data from a newly developed tool released by the U.S. Census Bureau. Nearly one-quarter of the state lives in poverty — higher than rates in the Deep South and New York — under the federal Supplemental Poverty Measure.

Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) and Assemblyman Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay), chairs of the Senate and Assembly Human Services Committees, will convene a hearing tomorrow, Tuesday, March 12, at 1:30 PM, to hear from a panel of research experts about the factors that contribute to the state’s high poverty rate. The hearing will be held in Room 3191 of the State Capitol.

“It is unthinkable that so many children and adults in our state are struggling to eat, provide basic necessities and afford medical care,” said Yee. “This new census data is too startling to overlook.”

Among those testifying at the hearing will be the author of the Census Bureau’s report on the Supplemental Poverty Measure, as well as the director of Stanford University’s federally designated poverty center, who is overseeing creation of a similar tool to look at poverty within California.

“This is a critical tool for California as we start to climb out of this devastating recession,” said Stone. “The Supplemental Poverty Measure can help guide meaningful conversations about how to reduce poverty in this state.”


Contact: Adam Keigwin,