The results are in and they may shock some. While each state has its share of poverty, one state is the worst. Despite problems in Detroit in recent years, or the declining economies in rural states: the poorest state in the country is California.
Per a recent op-ed in the LA Times, California has the highest poverty level in the nation. One in five residents qualifies as “poor.” That’s according to the Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure. The measure factors in the cost of housing, food, utilities and clothing. It also includes non-cash government assistance as a form of income.
The news is shocking, but not without cause or reason. Despite a booming economy and tremendous job growth fueled by the information and technology sector, California is still the poorest state in the country from a poverty standpoint.
There are several reasons why California may be finding itself in this situation. The tech sector has fueled the states economy for years, however many of those jobs are concentrated into highly skilled positions which attract out of state residents.
Mismanagement of government assistance programs is also at least partially to blame. Despite spending nearly $1 trillion on state social welfare programs over the last 25 years, the poverty rate has only increased. In fact, despite being home to 12% of the nation’s population; California accounts for 1 in 3 of all welfare recipients in the nation.
In some cases, assistance programs overlap one another. In others, the thresholds for assistance seem suspect at best.
Currently, earning $84,450 per year is enough for a California family of four to qualify as “low-income” earners. At the same time, earning a quarter million dollars per year may qualify you for subsidized housing.
With almost-millionaires and near 6-figure income earners qualifying for assistance, it’s no surprise that some residents are actually ditching their homes in favor of alternative living situations.
Cost of Living
At the same time, the cost of living in California is skyrocketing. Home prices have doubled over the last five years. The combination of high home prices and high taxes are making California un-affordable to the average citizen.
California, with the allure of Hollywood, the beautiful beaches, and a booming technology sector has never had trouble attracting people. However, the state attracts high income citizens while lower income residents are leaving for a better, easier cost of living.
Mass Exodus Playing Out
California is still a popular destination for many out of state residents seeking a new beginning. However, those who have been struggling with the high cost of living are not surprised to find that California is the poorest state in the country. These citizens are getting out.
The City vs City App is a powerful cost of living calculator that can help! If you’re stuck in Cali and dreaming of a state that doesn’t have skyrocketing taxes and home costs; we’ve got you covered.
Unlike other apps that look at medians and averages, City vs City goes deep to determine your true cost of living. We calculate your income, savings, expenses, and factor in all major state and local taxes as well.
Once we determine your current cost of living we compare it at the zip code level with another city of your choosing. Many California residents are fleeing to Texas with its relaxed tax laws and more affordable housing.
Is Texas the place for you? Download the City vs City App and find out!