Report: A District-by-District Look at Poverty in California - Women's Foundation California

women shoping in store

Our state’s legislators and staffers came and they heard us, loud and clear. On Tuesday, May 20, we held a legislative briefing at the state Capitol in Sacramento and unveiled an important set of data related to women’s poverty.

Our new poverty data

Our district-level poverty data showed California state senators and assemblymembers how women are faring in their districts.

And why is that important? Because our policymakers now have essential data and indisputable proof that many women have not yet recovered from the Great Recession, that poverty is still a reality for many—especially single mothers—and that we need good, creative public policy solutions to ending poverty.

What does our data show? It shows that Californians who are single mothers heads of household, African American or Latina or have a high-school degree or less are disproportionately poor.

18 % of women, 24 % of children and 35 % of single moms are living in poverty in California.

These numbers are shocking, but you know what? Shock is not enough. We need to take action. Because poverty is not inevitable. It’s not a natural disaster like the drought or a hurricane. It’s a result of a series of choices and policies that we make.

Time to make concrete changes

Our legislators can do something about poverty and they can start right now. They just have to choose to invest in people and reinvest in programs that give Californians the tools they need to move out of poverty.

What can they do now? For example, they can vote to pass SB 935 (Leno), a bill that will increase the minimum wage in California. Today, two-thirds of all minimum wage workers in our state are women. They can make community college education more accessible and vote to pass SB 1425 (Block), which will help students obtain their degrees more easily.

They can choose to reinvest in subsidized child care, a program that has been proven to keep parents employed and children learning. They can choose to make CalWORKs (welfare-to-work program) more effective by voting to pass SB 899 (Mitchell) and SB 1029 (Hancock). But they have to choose.

They have to choose to invest in women and reinvest in programs that not only help impoverished Californians, but have a positive ripple effect for all people living in our state.

Our legislative briefing was our way of helping our legislators see the extent of the problem in their districts and to recommend policy solutions. We were excited to see such a great turnout and are hopeful that our legislators will choose to stand with women, will vote for bills that help low-income women and children and will pass a budget that reinvests in our tattered social safety net.

Assembly district data (PDF):

Senate District data (PDF):

This work is powered by you.

The feminist future we are building together in California is going to be built by all of us sharing our time, our money, and our skills.  Please consider contributing today.

Together We Are Unstoppable.

Sign up here to join our mailing list and receive updates about our programs, partnerships, and more!