Congresswoman Barbara Lee Issues Statement on the Release of a New Poverty Index

Contact: Katherine Jolly (510) 763-0370

Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) issued the following statement on Stanford University’s newly released poverty index:

“The Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality recently released startling new numbers on the rates of poverty in California. The study shows us that a full quarter of California’s children are living in poverty, with a 6% increase in both Alameda and Contra Costa counties. These rates are unacceptable and immoral.

“However, there is a bright spot in the numbers: we see that public safety net programs are reducing childhood poverty, such as tax credits and food stamps. As the Chair of the Whip’s Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity, I will continue to work every day to ensure that our nation’s best poverty eradicating programs are working not only across the country, but at home in California, in the East Bay.

“We must make certain that we protect our nation’s most vulnerable, not push them aside. As our nation is held hostage by an extreme wing of the Republican party, we must remember the effect that shutdown and sequester have on our community, but especially our vulnerable. We’ve got to get our economy up and running. If we work together, we can create an economy that works for all, that provides jobs and opportunity for everyone.”

According to Stanford University, “Under the new poverty measure, 22 percent [8.1 million] of Californians live in poverty, and that figure would be even higher if not for the state and federal safety nets, including CalFresh, the state's food stamp program; CalWORKs, the state's cash assistance program; and the federal Earned Income Tax Credit.   If these programs were not in place, the child poverty rate would increase by another 12 percentage points, raising it from nearly 25 percent to nearly 37 percent of all children.”  See the Stanford University press release.


Congresswoman Lee is a member of the Appropriations and Budget Committees, the Steering and Policy Committee, is a Senior Democratic Whip, former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and Progressive Caucus. She serves as chair of the Whip’s Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity.