This California City Has the Highest Poverty Rate in the State

California, known for its diverse economy, holds the unfortunate title of having the highest poverty rate in the nation, standing at 13.2% according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s supplemental measure. Digging deeper into the issue reveals Orange Cove, a small city in Fresno County, as one of the most severely affected, earning the undesirable distinction of having the highest poverty rate in the state according to a report by Stacker.

Getting to Know Orange Cove

Situated about 35 miles southeast of Fresno in the San Joaquin Valley, Orange Cove, with a population of approximately 10,000, gained city status in 1948. Named after the surrounding orange groves, it’s part of the Fresno metropolitan area, which boasts a population exceeding one million.

The Causes Behind Orange Cove’s Poverty

The gravity of Orange Cove’s situation becomes apparent with a staggering 46.5% poverty rate, based on the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey. This means nearly half of the city’s residents live below the poverty line, set at around $26,000 for a family of four. The median household income in Orange Cove stands at a meager $24,375, with a per capita income of $8,571.

Low wages, high unemployment, limited education, and constrained opportunities contribute to the city’s dire economic state. The majority of Orange Cove’s workforce operates in agriculture, a sector susceptible to seasonal fluctuations and weather-dependent conditions. Orange Cove’s unemployment rate is a staggering 17.4%, significantly higher than the state average of 4.1%. Additionally, the city faces educational challenges, with only 38.7% of adults possessing a high school diploma or higher and a mere 2.9% holding a bachelor’s degree or higher. Geographical isolation compounds the problem, limiting access to public transportation, healthcare, and social services.

Consequences of Poverty in Orange Cove

Poverty takes a toll on the health, well-being, and overall quality of life of Orange Cove’s residents. The city grapples with high rates of chronic diseases such as diabetes, asthma, and obesity, linked to poor nutrition, limited physical activity, and environmental pollution.

Jimmy Clyde
Jimmy Clyde
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