Census: 15 percent of Californians living in poverty, half million lose health coverage

September 16, 2010

By Daniel Weintraub

Poverty in California and across the United States increased in 2009, according to the latest numbers from the US Census Bureau.

The poverty rate in California in 2009 was 15.3 percent, up from 14.6 percent in 2008 and 12.7 percent the year before.

Nationally the poverty rate was 14.3 percent last year.

The number of Californians without health insurance at some time during the year also grew between 2008 and 2009, by about 500,000. In 2009 7.2 million people under age 65 lacked coverage. That was 22.1 percent of the population under age 65, compared to 20.6 percent in 2008.

The Census Bureau defines the poverty level as an income of $21,954 for a family of four.

California’s three-year average poverty rate of 14.2 percent ranked 15th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The highest poverty rate was in Mississippi, where 21.2 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. New Hampshire had the lowest poverty rate, at 6.9 percent.

For the full report, go here.

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