California has one of the nation's higher official poverty rates but a new Census Bureau report indicates that it is fractionally inflated by college students who have low personal incomes.
The Census Bureau made the calculations, it says, because of "numerous telephone inquiries" about whether the presence of large numbers of students had a major impact on poverty rates, which are used for a variety of federal government programs and which also affect a community's image for business development purposes.
The state's official poverty rate during the 2009-11 period was 15.5 percent, a bit higher than the national rate, but when low-income college students not living at home are taken out of the equation, the state's poverty rate declines to 14.9 percent, the Census Bureau calculated. It estimated that 47 percent of California college students not living at home met the qualification for poverty because of their low incomes.
The recalculations were only on the official poverty rate. The Census Bureau is testing an alternative method of calculating poverty, which includes the cost of living, that would give California the nation's highest poverty rate.