This article by Jamelle Bouie makes me realize how little I actually understand poverty. I did know that most people who need food stamps only need them for a short length of time, but it surprises me that only about 3.5% of the population counted as impoverished for the entirety of 2009-2011. That seems hopeful, doesn't it?
Also, I've seen a couple places that if this crazy 6 Californias plan could actually come to fruition, I would suddenly find myself a resident of the poorest state in the country. This...makes me rethink a lot of what I think I know about Mississippi. But I think there's also some important questions that need to be answered before I understand what that statistic really means. Would the median household in "Central California" be poorer than the median household in Mississippi...or are there just a more significant number of very rich people in Mississippi that pull up the mean? Are poor Central Californians better off overall, despite low incomes, because of a more expansive (better?) safety net financed by the richer parts of the state/a more liberal political culture? Even though this area is obviously not rich, I definitely don't go through life viewing my neighbors as some of the most unfortunate people in the country...so either the country is much better off than I thought it was, or there's something extra at play here.