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California Counts, Report · May 2006

Poverty in California: Moving Beyond the Federal Measure

Deborah Reed

The current federal measure of poverty for California (13.1% in 2004) does not take into account the state’s higher cost of living. Adjusting for rental costs, California’s poverty rate rises substantially, to 16.1 percent. This edition of California Counts uses a cost-adjusted measure to analyze the state’s poverty both demographically and regionally, making comparisons to federal findings. Without prescribing the “right” measure, the author points to several problems with the current federal poverty measure.


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