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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Inequality and Poverty in California

Jonathan Lansner reports in The Orange County Register:
California has an income inequality problem – and that wealth gap may be a byproduct of an awkward resurgence.
By one measure, at least, the state had the fifth-highest level of inequality in the nation last year – exceeded by only the District of Columbia, New York, Connecticut and Louisiana.
The U.S. Census Bureau on Thursday released a study that attempts to quantify the income gap between the “haves” and the “have-nots” with the “Gini” index. It’s an economic yardstick that dices income variations into a measurement that runs from 0 (no inequality) to 1 (full inequality.) California came in at 0.49 for 2013 – up a tad from 0.482 the year before, one of 15 states to have an inequality uptick in 2013. Overall, the nation scored 0.481 last year, up from 0.476 in 2012.
The Census also had some grim news on poverty.  Of the 25 metropolitan areas in the United States, Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario  had the highest poverty rate at 18.2 percent.  Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim was in a tie for third place, at 17.6 percent. KPCC reports:
But that’s based upon a national poverty line of $23,550 for a family of four; When you take into account how much it really costs to live here, L.A. fares even worse.
“We find that Los Angeles stands out even more, unfortunately," said Sarah Bohn, a researcher at the Public Policy Institute of California. "Housing costs are really playing a big role in family budgets and being able to make ends meet."