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California's Uninsured Rate Falls But Poverty Rate Still High

melfoody / Flickr

melfoody / Flickr

California has the highest poverty rate of any state in the nation when cost of living is taken into account – but it’s cut the number of medically uninsured residents nearly in half.

Those are among the takeaways from new U.S. Census data out Tuesday.

The report on each state's uninsured population shows California has cut more than 3.1 million people, or 8.6 percent of the state's population, off the rolls of the uninsured. That’s largely due to the state’s active participation in the Affordable Care Act, including Medi-Cal expansioin.

California doesn't just lead the nation in the sheer number of people who are now insured – which would be predictable, given that California has by far the state’s most residents. It’s also reduced its uninsured population by a greater percent than any other state in the nation.

Meanwhile, the Census Bureau also released poverty rates. Its traditional measurement pegs California’s poverty rate at 15 percent – roughly in the middle of the pack.

But when the state’s high cost of living is factored in, California’s rate is more than 20 percent. Only Washington, DC is higher.


Ben Adler

Capitol Bureau Chief

Capitol Bureau Chief Ben Adler first became a public radio listener in the car on his way to preschool – though not necessarily by choice. Now, he leads Capital Public Radio’s state Capitol coverage, which airs on NPR stations across California.  Read Full Bio 

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