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California has the nation's highest rate of poverty -- nearly a quarter of its 38 million residents -- under an alternative calculation devised by the Census Bureau that takes the cost of living into account.

The state's official poverty rate, based on a half-century-old formula that doesn't include cost of living, is about half as high, but still higher than the national rate. And that's true, as well, in a new statistical category called "near-poverty."

The Census Bureau defines persons in near-poverty as those with incomes between 100 percent and 125 percent of the official poverty threshold. For a family of four, an income under $29,205 would qualify as near-poverty, and under that definition, California is one of 12 states with rates higher than the national average.

In a report issued Thursday, the Census Bureau tabs the national near-poverty rate at 4.7 percent, or 14.6 million persons, during the 2010-12 period. Just under two million Californians, the report said, fell into that category for a rate of 5.3 percent.

PHOTO: Loaves & Fishes volunteer, Juanita Albert, left, talks with homeless couple, Frankie Griffin, center and Olivia Carter, right, in the dining room at Loaves & Fishes, across from Friendship Park, Friday, April 18, 2014. The Sacramento Bee/Lezlie Sterling.


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