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A look at two Californias: the rich and the poor

The California Poverty Measure/ The Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality

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Despite the wealth and beauty of cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco, California is home to many people who live below the poverty line. That inequality is one of the many topics hit on by California Governor Jerry Brown Thursday during his State of the State address.

He highlighted the efforts he has made to lessen its impacts. 

“In the face of this growing inequality, California has not been passive,” Governor Brown said, "We've enacted or expanded many programs to counteract these powerful trends. We raised the minimum wage. We now have the first income tax credit. We strengthened our already strong prevailing wage laws."

Governor Brown's list went on,  focusing on his efforts to balance the growing inequality by providing sick leave to millions of workers, offering $2 billion in Cal Grants to college students, and the healthcare coverage that will be offered to the children of undocumented workers in May.

The most recent data from the California Poverty Measure shows it could be tough to overcome those trends. Social scientists say that measure is a more accurate way to find out who is poor and in need of assistance as it accounts for the local cost of living and the benefits of social programs. 

Beth Mattingly, researcher for Stanford's Center for Poverty & Inequality who works on that index, said that by those standards California has the most poverty of any state in the nation, and 25 percent people in Los Angeles fall into that category.

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