State's poverty rate in 2009 highest in 11 years

The state's poverty rate in 2009 was the highest in 11 years, according to a nonpartisan public policy research group.

Census Bureau data released Thursday shows the number of Californians with incomes below the federal poverty line increased in 2009 for the third straight year, according to the nonprofit California Budget Project. More than 5.6 million Californians — 15.3 percent or more than one out of seven — had incomes below the federal poverty line last year, according to the CBP.

The federal poverty line varies by family size. For a family of four with two children the federal poverty line in 2009 was $21,756, according to the CBP.

The national poverty rate increased 2 percent from 2006 to 2009, from 12.3 percent to 14.3 percent, according to the CBP.

About 2 million children in California, or more than one out of five, lived in families with incomes below the poverty line last year. The number of children in the state living in poverty increased almost 3 percent from 2006 to 2009, from 18.1 percent to 21 percent, according to the CBP.

California's inflation-adjusted median household income — the income of the household at the middle of the income distribution — was $56,134 in 2009. The median household income was $58,850 in 2006.

The state median household income was $6,357 more than the national median household income in 2009. The national median household income decreased 2.9 percent between 2006 and 2009, according to the CBP.

More than 22 percent of Californians under the age of 65 were without health coverage last year. State residents under age 65 with employment-based health coverage decreased 3.2 percent, from 55.5 to 52.3, between 2006 and 2009, according to the CBP.

Nationally, 58.9 percent of people under age 65 had job-based health coverage in 2009.

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