Chris Hoene on New Census Figures on Poverty: “California Simply Must Do Better”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SACRAMENTO — The California Budget & Policy Center, a nonpartisan public policy research group, released the following statement from Executive Director Chris Hoene in response to new Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) data released by the US Census Bureau this morning. According to these latest SPM figures, 20.6 percent of Californians faced economic hardship on average between 2013 and 2015, a higher share than in any other state in the US.

“California simply must do better. One in five Californians are struggling to get by, a larger share of people than in any other state.

“State policymakers have taken some important steps in recent years to help working families who are struggling to afford the basics, such as expanding health care coverage, raising the state minimum wage, and creating a state Earned Income Tax Credit. But these latest Census figures show that our state needs to be ambitious in building on this kind of progress.

“California must commit to a multifaceted approach to broadening economic opportunity. This would include expanding the state EITC, continuing to increase support for subsidized child care and preschool, ensuring that all eligible families receive CalFresh food assistance, and boosting access to affordable housing.”

Note: The SPM provides a more accurate depiction of economic hardship than the official poverty measure by factoring in differences among places in the cost of living and also by better accounting for the range of resources (including noncash benefits like housing and food assistance) that families use to cover living expenses.


Coming Up This Morning: The Budget Center will release a short report analyzing these latest Census figures.

Reminder – Media Briefing, Thursday, September 15, 11:30 a.m.This Thursday, the Census Bureau will release American Community Survey (ACS) data that offer an in-depth look at a variety of social and economic conditions in California and across the nation. The Budget Center will release an analysis that morning drawing on these ACS data and will hold a media-only teleconference. Learn more and reserve a spot for this media briefing.

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The California Budget & Policy Center engages in independent fiscal and policy analysis and public education with the goal of improving public policies affecting the economic and social well-being of low- and middle-income Californians. Support for the the Budget Center comes from foundation grants, subscriptions, and individual contributions.