Federal poverty assessments are often criticized for underestimating poverty rates because they don't take into account modern day living expenses. Stanford and PPIC's California Poverty Measure considers income, but also accounts for such items as tax obligations, social service benefits, child care expenses and out-of-pocket medical costs. Family size and location are also considered.
The Stanford and PPIC results show, in 2011, 22 percent of Californians were living in poverty. The federal poverty rate for the same year way 16 percent. Under the California Poverty Measure, nearly 40 percent of the state's children are considered to be living in poverty.