Fifty Years After The “War on Poverty”: How California Children Are Faring

As we mark the 50th anniversary of Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty this month, it’s a good time to take stock of the economic status of California children and their families.

While the national poverty rate declined from 26 percent in 1967 to 16 percent in 2012, it has been harder to move the needle on child poverty in California in recent years.

The state’s child poverty rate in 2012 – 22.5 percent – was about the same as it was in 1990, although it dipped to a low of about 16 percent in 2001, according to an analysis by the California Budget Project.

Why does this matter? The national research center ChildTrends highlights the five ways poverty harms children’s health and well being.

Several measures tracked by show other ways in which California children and their families continue to struggle despite the recovering economy:

See more state and county-level data on California child poverty and family income on

Children in Poverty (Regions of 65,000 Residents or More)

Children in Poverty – Supplemental Poverty Measure (State & U.S. Only)

Children Living Above and Below the Poverty Level (Regions of 65,000 Residents or More), by Income Level

Student Eligibility to Receive Free or Reduced Price School Meals

Median Family Income (Regions of 65,000 Residents or More)

Self-Sufficiency Standard, by Household Type

Families Living Below the Self-Sufficiency Standard

CalWORKs Recipients

Adequacy of Income to Meet Basic Needs

Households with a High Housing Cost Burden (Regions of 65,000 Residents or More)

Children Living in Crowded Households, by County (65,000 Residents or More)

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photo credit from flickr.

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