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Calif. Poverty Rate Would Rise If Housing Prices Were Considered

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Aired 11/4/09

California’s poverty rate would be one the worst in the country if housing prices were taken into consideration. A report out this month presents a new way of calculating poverty rates in the United States.

— California’s poverty rate would be one of the worst in the country if housing prices were taken into consideration. A report out this month presents a new way of calculating poverty rates in the United States.

By current measure, California has the 34th highest poverty rate in the country. However, a new report from the low income advocacy group Center for Law and Social Policy says California would have the highest poverty rate of any state if housing prices were part of the calculation.

Bill Oswald, an associate professor at San Diego’s Springfield College, said any poverty calculation should take different economies into consideration.

“Right now for a family of four, $21,000 qualifies you for poverty. Well $21,000 in San Diego doesn’t go as far as $21,000 in Little Rock,” he said.

Oswald said any new formula would likely mean an increase in the country’s poverty rate so it’s not likely there will be any changes.

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