Friday, November 18, 2011

Sacramento Bee: Census report says 2 million California children in poverty

Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

November 17, 2011
California has 2 million kids in poverty, says Census Bureau
by Dan Walters
1:16 PM 1:16 PM

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.
California has more children living in poverty than any other state -- more than 2 million -- but its rate of child poverty, while rising, is about average, a new U.S. Census Bureau report indicates.
The report on child poverty is one of several new Census Bureau data dumps that deal with immigration, various indices of poverty, disability among children and the rising numbers of Americans who are 90-plus years old.
The analysis of data from the American Community Survey found that the number of American children living in poverty rose from 14.7 million in 2009 to 15.7 million in 2010 with the rate also rising from 20 percent to 21.6 percent.
In California, the number rose from 1.8 million to 2 million and the rate from 19.9 percent to 22 percent, apparently reflecting the severe recession that was still deepening.
Nationally, Puerto Rico had the highest rate of child poverty in 2010 at 56.3 percent. It was 30.4 percent in the District of Columbia and among the states, Mississippi was the highest at 32.5 percent. The lowest rate was 10 percent in New Hampshire.
Another indication of worsening economic conditions was a rising level of food stamp use from 2009 to 2010. Nationally, the Census Bureau said, families using food stamps or supplemental nutrition programs rose from 10.3 percent to 11.9 percent. The nutrition report said that, in California, it increased from 6.2 percent to 7.4 percent with more than 900,000 California households reporting some use of the programs.
California is also somewhat below national averages in the percentage of its school-aged children considered to have disabilities, according to another Census Bureau report.
The report differentiates between children living in metropolitan areas and those living in rural areas. Nationally, 5 percent of children in urban areas were disabled in 2010, and 6.3 percent in rural areas. In California, the rates were 3.9 percent and 5.7 percent.
Still another Census Bureau report reveals that California's huge foreign-born population, some 10.2 million, tends to have a higher-than-average proportion of those who arrived in the state prior to 2005.
The numbers bolster other studies indicating that the rate of immigration into California, both legal and illegal, has dropped sharply in recent years due to the state's moribund economy.
The report says that 86.7 percent of California's foreign-born came here prior to 2005, four percentage points higher than the national average. The states with lower percentage of pre-2005 immigrants are those who have experienced recent inflows to satisfy their growing economies and therefore their growing needs for labor, with North Dakota's 66.9 percent the lowest. In other words, a third of North Dakota's foreign-born residents arrived in the state in the last five years.
Finally, the Census Bureau reveals that California has the nation's largest number of residents who are 90-plus years old, 186,448, but the report also reveals that California has one of the lower percentages of 90-plus residents, but that its ratio of men to women in that age category is one of the highest.
There are 40 90-plus men for every 100 90-plus woman in California, the ninth highest ratio in the nation. Hawaii is highest at 47. The District of Columbia has the lowest ratio, just 19 men who are 90-plus for every 100 90-plus women, followed by Alaska at 23.
The Census Bureau terms those numbers the "sex ratio" but does not define the term.

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