Creating Healthy Communities / Reducing Poverty

Creating Healthy Communities / Reducing Poverty2022-02-10T12:13:41-08:00

Nearly one out of five Californians live in poverty.1

Poverty affects the ability to live a healthy life by limiting access to the basic necessities of housing, food, education, jobs, healthcare, and transportation. Low-income persons frequently live in under-resourced neighborhoods and are often exposed to unfavorable conditions that affect health across the life course. Children in poor families are at greater risk of growing up in environments that are harmful to their development, health, and prospects for a high-quality education. Poverty is associated with societal exclusion and higher prevalence of mental illness. People experiencing poverty are more likely to suffer from chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, acute and chronic stress, and to die prematurely.2

There are many ways to measure poverty. The California Poverty Measure (CPM) tracks the percentage of residents living in poverty, taking into account income, cost of living, and social safety net services.


In 2017-19 (baseline time range), 16.4% of Californians lived in poverty. The most recent rate available is 16.4% (2017-19). The target is to be determined (TBD) for this indicator.

More Data about Poverty



Current Rate




Indicator Highlights

Data Snapshot: Trends & Disparities

Percent of Residents Living in Poverty Based on California Poverty Measure, by County and Legislative District

Percent of Residents Living in Poverty Based on California Poverty Measure, by Demographic Category


Indicator Name: Percentage of Residents Living in Poverty

Indicator Description: The California Poverty Measure (CPM), a joint research effort by PPIC and the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality, draws on administrative and survey data to deliver a more comprehensive measure of poverty.6 It accounts for the cost of living and a range of family needs and resources, including social safety net benefits. The California Poverty Measure incorporates the changes in costs and standards of living since the official poverty measure was devised in the early 1960s—and accounts for geographic differences in the cost of living across the state. It also factors in tax credits and in-kind assistance that can augment family resources and subtracts medical, commuting, and child care expenses.

Data Limitations:

Indicator Source: Public Policy Institute of California and Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality

Indicator Calculation Methodology:

Data Collection Methodology:

Program URL Link:

Reporting Cycle: Annual

Reporting Lag: 2 years

1. Public Policy Institute of California. (2019). California Poverty by County and Legislative District. Retrieved February 1, 2019, from

2. Office of Health Equity. (March 2014). Healthy Communities Data and Indicators Project. California Department of Public Health, from:

3. Public Policy Institute of California. (2019). Poverty in California. Retrieved February 1, 2019, from

4. Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality. (October 2017). California’s Poverty Rate Goes Down, but 7.5 Million Remain Poor. Retrieved February 1, 2019, from:

5. Public Policy Institute of California. (2019). Child Poverty in California. Retrieved February 1, 2019, from

Stories & Solutions

Social Determinants of Health

What Are Social Determinants of Health? The social determinants of health are the conditions in which we live, learn, work, and play.1 These conditions include a broad range of socioeconomic and environmental factors, such as air and water quality, the quality of the built environment (e.g., housing quality; land [...]

Food Security

How can we provide access to nutritious food for the 5.4 million Californians who experience food insecurity?

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