California is the most liberal state in the nation. It's also the most poverty-ridden state in the nation.
Newly released data from the U.S. Census Bureau put California's 2017 poverty rate at 19% — or 7.5 million state residents. That was well above the national average, which was 13.9%.
The Bureau uses a formula called the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM), which "extends the official poverty measure by taking account of many of the government programs designed to assist low-income families and individuals that are not included in the official poverty measure," the Bureau says in its report. The formula also factors in cost of living for different regions.
"There were 16 states plus the District of Columbia for which SPM rates were higher than official poverty rates, 18 states with lower rates, and 16 states for which the differences were not statistically significant," said the Bureau.
Interestingly, the states where the SPM was higher than the official rate are mostly liberal: California, New York, Oregon, Nevada, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts.
Overall, the news was better. The official poverty rate has dropped from 14.5% in 2009 to 12.3 in 2017, while the SPM dropped from 15.1% to 13.9% over the same period. And California did drop 1.4% in its SPM, but at 19% is still the highest in the nation.
"The high cost of living, primarily in housing, is a strong counterweight to many of the state’s efforts, said Caroline Danielson, policy director at the Public Policy Institute of California," the Sacramento Bee reported.
“We do have a housing crisis in many parts of the state and our poverty rate is highest in Los Angeles County,” she said, adding that cost of living and poverty is often highest in the state’s coastal counties. “When you factor that in we struggle.”