The Golden State has reached a poverty rate that is now twice as bad as West Virginia’s and substantially worse than the rates of poverty in Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and Texas, according
to a new measure of poverty developed by the federal Census Bureau.
Democrat-run California earned its last-place rank under the federal government’s new measure of poverty, which incorporates more detailed analyses of welfare payments and the local costs of food.
California snatched the last-place prize from Mississippi, which had the highest poverty rate under the older and simpler measure, which gauged people’s ability to buy basic services and goods.
Democratic California Gov. Gerry Brown’s office did not release a comment Nov. 15.
The stunning reversal in fortunes for the Democrat-dominated state — once a worldwide symbol of glitz and wealth — is underlined by previous census reports, which showed that only 11.1 percent of the state’s population was poor in 1969.
Only 13.7 percent of Americans were poor in 1969, and many of them were found in the agricultural states of the Old South. A third of Americans in Mississippi, and a quarter of Americans in Arkansas, Louisiana, South Carolina and Western Virginia, were poor.
Forty years later, after waves of federal and state regulations on housing, banking, health care and air quality, and amid increased financial aid for unmarried parents, youth, immigrants and unskilled people, the national poverty rate has climbed to 15.8 percent, according to the new Census Bureau measure.