With nearly 250,000 county residents living in poverty, Fresno County has the highest poverty rate in the state of California, according to new census data. The poverty rate in Fresno is 26.8 percent, which is far higher than the statewide average of 15.8 percent. Particularly alarming is the poverty rate’s impact on children, as nearly 40 percent of youth in the county are living in poverty, which is double the state average. For the sake of comparison, back in 2009 the county ranked seventh in the state for poverty and furthermore 70,000 more people lived in poverty last year than in 2007. The Fresno Bee reports:
“Several counties in the San Joaquin Valley were among the state's poorest, according to the data. Experts attribute this to the region's weak economy and unskilled labor market -- made worse by the nation's economic slide. Fresno County, though, has been particularly vulnerable to the bad times, said Alan Berube, a senior fellow at the Washington, D.C.-based Brookings Institution. The county's many pockets of concentrated poor have made it a harder place to turn around, he said.”
Many school districts in both Tulare and Fresno County had more than half the students living below the poverty line in 2010. Tulare had the second highest poverty rate at 24.6%. Notably, Fresno has an unemployment rate above 15%.
You can find state and county figures from the U.S. Census Bureau here.