Study: 28% of CA elderly impoverished

elderly.povertyIn 2012, after many years of being urged to develop more sophisticated measures of wealth and prosperity, the U.S. Census Bureau began issuing an annual 50-state review of poverty that incorporated cost of living. California shot from the middle of the pack to being to by far the biggest center of poverty in America, with more than 23 percent of residents struggling to pay for basic expenses.

Now a new UCLA study finds that of the 4 million adults in California who are 65 or older, 1.11 million struggle to make ends meet — an effective poverty rate of 28 percent. That’s more than triple the number of California elderly who were considered impoverished under standard federal measures. This is from the KPCC/PBS report:

More than 770,000 seniors in California aren’t making enough to get by but aren’t considered poor by the federal government, according to a UCLA health policy study that is challenging the definition of poverty. …


According to the study, about 340,000 Californians 65 years or older are considered poor based on the Federal Poverty Level, which makes them eligible for public assistance programs.


But in an analysis of 2009-2011 U.S. Census data, the researchers concluded that about 772,000 more seniors in the state could use the help but aren’t considered poor enough. She calls this group the “hidden poor.”


“They don’t have enough income to meet a minimally decent standard of living,” said study lead author Imelda Padilla-Frausto, a graduate student researcher at the Center for Health Policy Research.

‘Hidden poor’ in trailer parks fight for rent control

elmontetrailerparkAs with the jump in overall poverty rates in the 2012 alternative Census Bureau statistical review, elderly poverty rates are much higher than previously thought because of the high cost of living. UCLA explains its approach in its study:

Economic security requires that older adults have sufficient income to pay for basic housing, food, transportation, health care, and other necessary expenses. The Elder Index is an evidence-based approach that identifies the actual costs of those basic needs at the county level for renters, homeowners with a mortgage, and homeowners without a mortgage. …


Of the 4 million older adults age 65 and over in California in 2011, one out of three (38.4 percent) was part of an older couple living alone, one out of four (27 percent) was a single elder living alone, one out of 20 (5.5 percent) was part of an older couple housing adult children, one out of 30 (3.6 percent) was a single elder housing adult children, and less than 1 percent were grandparents raising grandchildren without the parents present.

A primary cause of economic insecurity among the elderly is their reliance on fixed incomes that can’t handle sudden increases in housing costs. This explains why trailer park communities with rent controls — and many renters among the “hidden poor” — are often involved in intense political fights in local governments.

California has nearly 5,000 trailer parks with nearly 1 million residents, according to a 2011 TIME report about trailer park owners’ war on what cities call “rent stabilization agreements.”

According to a website that offers resources to trailer-park residents in disputes with their landlords, 97 local governments around California put limits on how much rates can go up each year, from Alameda County to Yucaipa.

Elderly trailer-park voters are often eagerly courted by local politicians. They vote at higher rates than younger residents and form coalitions with other groups that have lost favor with city hall. In Oceanside, for example, trailer park residents and public safety unions have long fought with business interests and conservative Republicans for control of the City Council.


Write a comment
  1. Ronald Stein
    Ronald Stein 7 September, 2015, 13:44

    And the emission crusaders in Sacramento want to further increase the cost of energy and products to all Californians !! It’s not the oil industry against the activists; it’s the emission crusaders against the economy!

    The “emissions crusade” that started in 2006 when AB32 the Global Warming Initiative was signed into law was at a time that California was contributing a miniscule 1% to the Worlds Green House Gasses. Over the last decade the government has collected billions of dollars as a result of over regulations, cap and trade fees, etc., for the government and dramatically increased the costs for energy and products to all 38 million that live in California.

    Now, SB-350 the Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015, when signed into law will further reduce that 1% by 80%, down to 0.2% which will further increase the costs for energy and products for all Californians. In addition, SB350 will mandate a 50% reduction is use of transportation fuels by 2030 from the current 40 million gallons a day to 20 million gallons a day from the growing population and growing numbers of vehicles, which will essentially mandate that everyone can only drive halfway to work, or halfway to school to meet that mandate.

    Reply this comment
    • Tesla_x
      Tesla_x 7 September, 2015, 14:35

      It’s the ganGREEN Russian money flowing to Eco sabateurs pushing the renewable portfolio standard and fighting the nonexistent threat of global warming.

      This drives already greedy utilities to raise rates by hook or by SMARTMETER crook, and with peak daily pricing that bills 50% more for the same annual kwh consumption compared with costs just a few years ago.

      Gangreens also attack water and cheap fossil fuels, like the scamming NRDC, that pushed through policy after policy to steal half the ca water supply for imaginary fish boondoggles.

      Then look at obolaCare, which has rationed medicine, doubled costs, and destroyed expendible income of retirees while denying them care and death paneling them into financial ruin and premature death.

      Now add to that the FED QE and artificially cheap Interest rates that have devastated the retirement income of many.

      Add again the full on malicious anti fossil fuel policies of this administration and the ganGREEN ruled EPA, and that has destroyed the previous fossil fuel
      dividend haven for retirees needing consistent dividend income to live with limited savings.

      Our elders have been betrayed and sabotaged by the gangreens, and by the ruinous democrats and Obola administration.

      It will get much WORSE before someone like Trump takes office with a complete economic and societal MELTDOWN on his hands.

      I do not envy the next sitting president, as there will be many harsh and very necessary and unpopular decisions that must be made.

      Reply this comment
  2. Another Disgruntled Citizen
    Another Disgruntled Citizen 7 September, 2015, 14:34

    You see, every time our city, county, state and national legislators and/or voters increase the cost of government with taxes, fees, fines & giveaways to special interest groups, everybody gets hurt.

    The consequence of every increase, large or small, is to put the people at the bottom of the I’m-getting-by list at the top of the I-can’t-make-it-anymore list.

    If we continue to allow these increases (and this includes things like increases to the minimum wage which acts like a tax on doing business) eventually everyone will be moved to the second list.

    Our elderly are being robbed by bad government policy. They don’t need welfare, they need tax relief. We all need tax relief.

    What we need to do is oppose every local, state and national proposal that would add to the burden of government on any aspect of the private sector.

    The problem is not about the rich vs. the poor, but about bad government policy vs. the people.

    As long as we let the big bad government special interests have the last word, we the people are going to be plucked like geese by folks who know how to do it without making us hiss.

    Thank you, H.L. Mencken.

    Meantime, if any of your elders are in this situation, now might be the time to find out if they are doing okay. Get to know them better. Ask them about the old days. Ask them to tell you what their grandparents told them. Find out how to fix the foods they love and teach your children how to make these foods.

    One thing I’ve discovered is that many elderly people are fiercely independent and won’t tell you how they are really doing. Many of them are unable to afford decent food (and institutional food is not nourishing, regardless of what the nutritionists say). If they have to go to the hospital, the food is so wretched many of them cannot eat it. They lose weight. They become too weak to walk. If they don’t have anyone at home to help them they are shipped off to nursing homes where they stay until they die.

    The solution? Honor thy father and thy mother. If they live far away and you can’t visit, you can still find ways to help. This is America, the land of opportunity! If they live close by and you get along, then see more of them. If you don’t get along, you can still do nice things for them by mail-order.

    The thing to remember is that it is not the government’s job to take care of people. It is the government’s job to protect our Liberty so we can take care of ourselves. We’ve just got ourselves in a jam right now because for too long people have not been taking the long view.

    And whether it is the long or the short view, it is all about Cause and Effect. The voters and the legislators need to be educated about the basic principles of this universal Law of Nature.

    Reply this comment
  3. Mamamia
    Mamamia 7 September, 2015, 14:54

    Many of us lost our jobs about 7 years back and had to apply for SSI at 62 instead of 65. So, losing nearly 50% of the money we paid in all our lives has thrown us into poverty. That rule is so wrong! Any illegal or unemployed person with a sprained hand or something can get double the amount we get, and they can still work on the side. Plus us old people must pay monthly for Plan B and Supplimental insurance – something illegals and “others” do not pay. I think they just want us gone!

    Reply this comment
  4. Richard Rider
    Richard Rider 7 September, 2015, 15:01

    California is now ranked as the worst state to retire in. Easily the lowest percentage of people over age 65. We “beat” ’em all – NY, NJ, etc.

    Reply this comment
    • doctord43
      doctord43 10 September, 2015, 10:47

      We have to leave. We’re being displaced by the illegal aliens, who are the current group to get preferential treatment.

      Reply this comment
  5. Queeg
    Queeg 7 September, 2015, 19:27


    Not only the current, but the new poor coming from plutocrats’ uncaring regulations, fees, taxes in the pipeline.

    Reserve your dumpster!

    Reply this comment
  6. Wenglo
    Wenglo 7 September, 2015, 19:41

    All true, but don’t also forget about the recent chicken space law that added an additional $1-2 per dozen of eggs. Needed protien for seniors as well as middle and lower wage earners. Just another govt program that restrict our choices with no cencern for added costs to our daily lives. When will the current govt start really caring about its people instead of the flavor of the day regulations meaning less freedom for the masses

    Reply this comment
  7. TexasGalinSoCal
    TexasGalinSoCal 7 September, 2015, 19:57

    8 years I’ve been here and it’s the leftist liberals in Sacramento and Iocal governments that have driven us off the cliff. And the GOP is no better for not standing up to the bleeding heart liberals. It’s way past time to clean out the barn … it is full of idiots AND money grubbing elitists.

    Reply this comment
  8. spurwing Plover
    spurwing Plover 7 September, 2015, 22:29

    And sGovenor Moonbeam brings in more illegal aliens or Future Demacratic supporters

    Reply this comment
  9. Queeg
    Queeg 8 September, 2015, 08:49


    So refreshing seeing all the new posters who care about the struggling masses. The “village” is under attack from greedy slaver globalists, corporate food barons, ultra slaver high tech trinket makers and your personal favorites the uncaring elitist plutocrats and publicans.

    Keep up the good works my friends. Be not influenced by the stale personal coveting Doomers on CWD. They are easily identified by wearing Gucci penny loafers, white belts and stained polyester bell bottoms!

    Reply this comment
  10. bob
    bob 8 September, 2015, 12:06

    I find the Colliefornia poverty rate hard to believe.

    How could this possibly happen in this Democrat paradise?

    I mean with John Perez, Darrell Steinburg, Jerry Brown, DeLeon, etc. running things what could possibly go wrong?

    Reply this comment
    • Queeg
      Queeg 8 September, 2015, 17:33

      Comrade Boo Boo,

      Look around you. Every third person is poor.

      Reply this comment
      • Just Another Disgruntled Citizen
        Just Another Disgruntled Citizen 9 September, 2015, 09:56

        Hey you guys, every third person is poor because the combined forces of local, state and federal government nationwide consume well more than half the combined wealth of the private sector. This combined with the outrageous combined public debt is a recipe for disaster. What we need is a 12-Step group for public officials and private citizens who think the government is the solution to all our problems. It is obvious that most of these solutions are not only NOT WORKING, they are making the problems WORSE! Just say NO! to bad government policy.

        Reply this comment
      • Just Another Disgruntled Citizen
        Just Another Disgruntled Citizen 9 September, 2015, 10:09

        Yes, well, this is the consequence of Big Bad Government. I’m fascinated with the criteria the government & pedigreed experts use to decide who is poor. We should be skeptical of the numbers but inflexible on demanding our local, state and federal government legislators and their advisors join a 12-Step Group for Big Government addicts. If they are hesitant we can always offer to accompany them..

        Reply this comment
  11. spurwing Plover
    spurwing Plover 12 September, 2015, 22:56

    Politians taritors very little diffrences with Obaa selling our nation to the enemy and Moonbeam allowing for illegals to take away the jobs of hard working americans Their all Traitors

    Reply this comment

Write a Comment

Leave a Reply

Chris Reed

Chris Reed

Chris Reed is a regular contributor to Cal Watchdog. Reed is an editorial writer for U-T San Diego. Before joining the U-T in July 2005, he was the opinion-page columns editor and wrote the featured weekly Unspin column for The Orange County Register. Reed was on the national board of the Association of Opinion Page Editors from 2003-2005. From 2000 to 2005, Reed made more than 100 appearances as a featured news analyst on Los Angeles-area National Public Radio affiliate KPCC-FM. From 1990 to 1998, Reed was an editor, metro columnist and film critic at the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin in Ontario. Reed has a political science degree from the University of Hawaii (Hilo campus), where he edited the student newspaper, the Vulcan News, his senior year. He is on Twitter: @chrisreed99.

Related Articles

As I predicted, state revenue up — for now

Jan. 23, 2013 By John Seiler A week ago I wrote on, “Two critical budget dates approaching.” I predicted

Ships still at sea from dock strike

Anyone along the coast of Los Angeles and Orange County still can see the giant cargo ships stranded by the

California Attorney General Xavier Beccera faces criticism from criminal justice reformers

Another Democratic state attorney general is facing sharp criticism from activists for allegedly getting in the way of criminal justice