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Facts Speak for Themselves on Income Inequality

California Has the Highest Poverty Rate in the Country.

California Has the Highest Poverty Rate of 20.6% According to the Census Supplemental Poverty Measure. According to PolitiFact, “During the same period, California had the highest poverty rate, 20.6 percent, according to the census’ Supplemental Poverty Measure. This study does account for cost-of-living, including taxes, housing and medical costs, and is considered by researchers a more accurate reflection of poverty. For a two-adult, two-child family in California, the poverty threshold was an average of $30,000, depending on the region in the state, according to a 2014 analysis by Public Policy Institute of California.” [PolitiFact, 1/20/17]

The Achievement Gap Between Poor Kids and Rich Kids is Growing Larger. 

Achievement Gaps Between More Affluent and Less Privileged Children is Wider Than Ever. According to the New York Times, “For all the progress in improving educational outcomes among African-American children, the achievement gaps between more affluent and less privileged children is wider than ever, notes Sean Reardon of the Center for Education Policy Analysis at Stanford. Racial disparities are still a stain on American society, but they are no longer the main divider. Today the biggest threat to the American dream is class.” [New York Times, 9/22/15]

Achievement Gap Between High- and Low-Income Families is Roughly 40% Larger Among Children Born in 2001 Than Those Born 25 Years Earlier. According to Sean F. Reardon, Stanford University, “The achievement gap between children from high- and low-income families is roughly 40 percent larger among children born in 2001 than among those born twenty-five years earlier.” [“The Widening Academic Achievement Gap between the Rich and the Poor,” Community Investments, Summer 2012 – Volume 24, Number 2]

Life Expectancy Gap is Growing Wider.

Gap in Life Expectancy Between Wealthy and Low-Income Californians is Growing Wider. According to the Los Angeles Times, “The gap in life expectancy between wealthy and low-income Americans is wide and growing wider. And that has implications not only for lifetime health and wealth, but for Social Security. As a new study from the Congressional Research Service shows, this gap is making Social Security less progressive. Originally designed to benefit low-income workers more than their wealthy peers, the program is now paying the rich more than the poor. The CRS assembled a series of studies dating back to 2007, using data going as far back as the birth cohort of 1912. Its conclusion is that higher earners, with their gains in life expectancy, ‘can expect to collect Social Security benefits over increasingly longer periods of time than the lowest-earning groups, who have experienced little to no gains in additional years lived.’” [Los Angeles Times, 5/16/17]

Brookings Study Found Gap in Life Expectancy Widening Based on Income Level. According to CNN, “A new study by the Brookings Institute shows a surprising trend — the gap in life expectancy is widening based on income level. The rich outliving the poor isn’t surprising since they’ve historically enjoyed better access to medicine, resources, education and food. But the gap has been getting worse — much worse. On average, a rich man born in the U.S. in 1920 could expect to live about six years longer than a poor man born in the same year. By 1940, this gap had more than doubled. Among rich and poor men born in 1940, the difference in life expectancy was 12 years. This same trend was also seen with women’s life expectancies. The gap between rich and poor women widened from 3.7 years for women born in 1920 to 10.1 years for those born in 1940.” [CNN, 2/18/16]

The Rich are Getting Richer and the Poor are Getting Poorer.

California: The nation’s most unequal state. According to CNN, “Those who live in the tech Mecca of Silicon Valley enjoy the highest level of well-being in the nation. Residents live more than four years longer than the average American, earn nearly double the income and have nearly triple the number of graduate degrees, according to a recent report measuring opportunity in the nation’s 435 congressional districts and Washington D.C. Less than 100 miles away in the state’s Central Valley, however, residents have the lowest level of well-being. In this agricultural hub, people live nearly a year less than the national average and an individual’s earnings are roughly equal to the poverty line for a single parent with two children. Nearly four in ten fail to graduate from high school, far below the nation’s norm.” [CNN, 5/6/15]

California Had Both the Top- and Bottom-Ranked District in the Nation in Terms of Well-Being. According to the report Geographies of Opportunity, Ranking Well-Being by Congressional District, “Both the top- and bottom-ranked districts in the nation can be found in California.” District 18 scored 8.18 out of 10 while District 21 scored 3.04 out of 10. [Geographies of Opportunity, Ranking Well-Being by Congressional District, April 2015]

  • California’s 18th Congressional District, Which Ranked Highest in Well-Being, Was 64 Percent White. According to the US Census, District 18, which scored 8.18 out of 10 in terms of well-being, has a population that is 64 percent White. [Geographies of Opportunity, Ranking Well-Being by Congressional District, April 2015; US Census, accessed 8/04/17]
  • California’s 21st Congressional District, Which Ranked Lowest in Well-Being, Was 75 Percent Latino. According to the US Census, District 21, which scored 3.04 out of 10 in terms of well-being, has a population that is 75 percent Latino. [Geographies of Opportunity, Ranking Well-Being by Congressional District, April 2015; US Census, accessed 8/04/17]