Thursday, May 11, 2006

Housing Costs Change List of Top Areas for Poverty - New York Times

Housing Costs Change List of Top Areas for Poverty - New York Times:
SAN FRANCISCO, May 10 — A new report that adjusts the poverty line to reflect housing costs says New York, California and Washington, D.C., have the highest percentage of residents living in poverty, surpassing traditionally impoverished regions like the Deep South.

The report, to be released Thursday by the Public Policy Institute of California, took into account the high rents and utility rates in major cities like Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco and adjusted the national poverty line, about $19,000 for a family of four, accordingly. The results showed all three regions with significantly higher poverty rates than the Census Bureau reported in the fall.

Washington, ranked fifth poorest by the government, vaulted into the top spot, according to the report, with 21 percent of residents in poverty. New York, 12th by government standards, was second in the study, with 16.3 percent below the poverty line, while California went from 15th to third, at 15.7 percent.

Nationwide, 12.7 percent of Americans, or 37 million, lived below the poverty line in 2004, according to the Census Bureau.

The author of the study, Deborah Reed, said it 'changes our perception of poverty mainly affecting the Southern states to something that affects high population states,' where housing costs can consume a majority of income.
I've suspected as much for a long time now, so this article resonates with a vengeance. And until the minimum wage is brought up to at least the poverty level by region and kept there by annual adjustments, this will only keep getting worse. Poverty is behind most of the ills this society is grappling with, yet the Conservatives/Republicans keep giving more to the richest and less to the rest of us. Eventually their house of cards is going to collapse. I just hope people realize when it does that it's the Conservative/Republican agenda that made it happen.

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