Source: IPUMS, Official Poverty Status, 5-17-year olds. Black line in chart signifies national average.
In 1977, 13 percent of California 5- to 17-year olds were living below the poverty line. That year, California had the 29th-highest child poverty rate among U.S. states and the District of Columbia. But a number of factors - an increase in immigration, a decline in well-paying manufacturing jobs, and diminished state resources after Proposition 13 - helped to steadily increase that rate starting in the 1980s; it peaked at 26 percent in 1995.
The child poverty rate fell below 20 percent in the early 2000s and hovered just above the U.S. average, but the most recent recession drove poverty rates up. In 2014, California had the 18th highest child poverty rate in the U.S.
Poverty rates do not reflect the higher cost of living in California.
Chart by John C. Osborn. Updated by Daniel J. Willis, Justin Allen and Yuxuan Xie
Note: Each year in the charts and graphs refers to both the calendar year and the fiscal year. Thus, 2013 incorporated data from the fiscal year 2013-14 (July 1 through June 30) as well as the calendar year 2013.