From the outside looking in, California appears to be about as perfect as any state one could imagine. Between the glamour of Hollywood and the innovation of Silicon Valley, California is the type of place that midwestern kids dream about.
Unfortunately, that just isn’t the case for many people who call the Golden State home. In fact, California is quickly becoming a state filled with people who are either very rich or very poor, and there isn’t much room in between.
California’s Growing Poverty Rate
A recent article published by The Sacramento Bee provided dozens of key statistics that detail a growing poverty rate that is becoming more and more of a problem across the state of California.
When pooled together, those statistics reveal that there are two primary issues impacting California residents. The first is a rapidly increasing cost of living, and the second is the fact that wages simply aren’t rising at the same pace.
This combination has created a situation where local residents are being forced to work harder and harder for less and less, and over the course of the last decade that has resulted in an ever-growing number of California citizens falling into poverty.
California’s Ultra-Rich Population
On the other side of the same coin, California is also home to some of the wealthiest populations in the entire world.
With one tech startup after another creating multi-millionaires and even billionaires in Silicon Valley, it hasn’t been a surprise to anyone that real estate prices have gotten out of control in and around the Bay Area.
Not only has the tech and startup culture made California the place to be for new businesses, it has also created an astounding amount of wealth that is concentrated in very small circles.
Two Ends of the Spectrum
With a large portion of its population falling into poverty on account of the rising cost of living and limited opportunities to earn an income, the middle class in California is quickly becoming nonexistent.
This is leaving the state with a small collection of ultra-rich residents, and a rapidly growing number of residents in poverty, and very little in between. And aside from a few rags to riches stories, there is very little mobility between these two classes anymore.
Closing the Wealth Gap
One of the ways that California lawmakers are attempting to close this vast wealth gap is by offering residents access to things like free health insurance. However, those efforts do not appear to be helping enough just yet.
In order to truly close the gap between the ultra-rich and the rest of the state’s residents, something will need to be done to address the fact that the cost of living keeps rising at a rate that is much faster than the earnings potential for residents.
Figuring out a solution to these problems is not going to be easy, but if anyone can do it, the forward-thinking people that call California home are the ones with the best odds.