CHA News Article

Report Details Geography of Child Poverty in California
Finds safety net programs are effective in reducing child poverty

A recent report from the Public Policy Institute of California addresses the high rates of child poverty in California, in particular examining regional and local differences in the economic circumstances of poor families with young children age 0-5. The report finds that:

  • One-quarter of California’s young children live in poverty, ranging from 20 percent in the Bay Area to nearly 30 percent in the Central Coast and Los Angeles County.
  • Most poor families with young children have at least one working adult, particularly those families in higher-cost regions.
  • Despite earning more in the Bay Area, Orange County and San Diego County, poor families in these areas are more likely to spend over half of their total resources on housing.
  • Safety-net programs reduce child poverty, particularly in lower-cost regions. Without the safety net, poverty rates would be 24 percentage points higher in the Central Valley and Sierra region, compared to eight to nine points higher in the Bay Area and Orange County. This difference is likely due to the fact that safety-net programs do not account for variation in cost of living.