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Amid bad census data news on income, poverty, some bright spots

September 19, 2013|By Ricardo Lopez
  • Census data show that poverty levels and household income have wide disparities in California. Above, a volunteer stocks donated canned goods at a food pantry in Irvine last May.
Census data show that poverty levels and household income have wide disparities… (Don Bartletti / Los Angeles…)

New census data released Thursday painted a grim picture of the economic recovery in the United States. Still there were bright spots in California.

Poverty levels and household incomes for 2012 remained below 2007 levels in many parts of the country and haven't changed much from the year before.

The number of Americans living in poverty -- a record 46.5 million -- remained largely unchanged in 2012.  And the data show that the share of households with incomes below $24,999 stands at 24.4%. That's up from 21.7% in 2008.

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But the census figures did show that California's coastal areas -- San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles -- have seen steadier economic gains in the five years since the financial crash.

Thursday's report, derived from the American Community Survey,  provided local data for 25 metro regions, including four in California.

The economic picture in the Bay Area remained essentially unchanged from the previous year, with median household income in the metro region at $74.922 in 2012. The poverty rate also was unchanged at 11.9%.

In Los Angeles, median household income in Los Angeles was $57,271, also not much different than the year before. Poverty levels, however, ticked up to 17.6% last year, up from 17% in 2011. 

The news wasn't good for the Riverside metro area, however, where income levels have dropped further and poverty levels have risen. Median household income fell to $51,695 in 2012 from $53,201 the year before, Thursday's figures show. 

The share of Riverside-area residents living in poverty also rose, climbing to 19% in 2012 -- up one percentage point from 2011.


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