Chris Hoene on New Census Figures on Poverty: “We Must Do More to Give All Californians Pathways to Economic Security”

SACRAMENTO – The California Budget & Policy Center released the following statement from Executive Director Chris Hoene in response to new Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) figures released by the US Census Bureau this morning. According to these latest SPM figures, 20.4 percent of Californians faced economic hardship on average between 2014 and 2016, a higher share than in any other state in the US.

“One in five Californians struggle to get by, a larger share than in any other state. These latest Census poverty figures show that we must do more to give all Californians pathways to economic security. This should involve helping more people in our state to find quality jobs with good wages and also assisting individuals and families to afford the basics.

“The level of economic hardship in California has a lot to do with high housing costs in many parts of our state. This underscores the urgency of state policymakers taking steps to address our housing affordability crisis. Beyond this, there are a number of good policy options, such as continuing to strengthen the California Earned Income Tax Credit and boosting support for subsidized child care and preschool.

“At the same time, California needs its representatives in Congress to stand up to federal proposals that would plunge even more people into poverty. Budget proposals that have been put forth by the Trump Administration and some leaders in Congress would take California and our nation in exactly the wrong direction, slashing food and rental assistance, health care coverage, and other supports that help people make ends meet.”

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 and tax credits) that help families to afford basic living expenses.

###

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 Budget Center comes from foundation grants, subscriptions, and individual contributions