According to the United States Census Bureau Supplemental Poverty Measure, California has the highest poverty rate in the country. One in five people in California are living in poverty and the state’s residents account for 33% of all those on welfare in the United States, despite the state only being 12% of the country’s population. The state spent $958 billion on welfare programs between 1992-2015. According to the study, 60% of Californians are jobless and living in poverty.
One contributing factor to their high poverty levels is their lack of affordable housing. Housing in California has become increasingly out of reach for the middle class due to building regulations and space constraints. This has caused housing to consume far more of the average residents income than in other parts of the country, leaving them with less money for food, transportation, healthcare and other services.