California is the place for millionaires. According to the Wall Street Journal, California is nearing the whopping total of one million millionaires. Right now, there 885,225 millionaires in the state, to be exact. And this data counts households (not individuals) with more than one million dollars' worth of investable assets. So, Beyoncé and JAY-Z only count as one.
The number of millionaires in the state of California has increased a whopping 6.3% since 2016. And the percentage of millionaires in the state? 6.61 percent. That means more than one in twenty people driving on the 101 and gracing the doorsteps of wineries in Napa has more than seven figures in the bank (or in other places). In short, being a millionaire, in a decade or so (due to inflation and the trajectory of earnings) will not be anything special.
In stark contrast, California continues to have the highest poverty level in the country. According to the Census Bureau, in the last 3 years, approximately 18.2 percent of California residents have dropped below the poverty level. And California's poverty level is significantly higher than even its neighbors - Arizona's poverty rate is 12.8%, Nevada's is 13.7 percent, and Oregon is at a 11.1 percent poverty rate.
Even more concerning, almost one third of California residents are at or just above the poverty rate, according to The Center Square. In 2021, that poverty level (for the city of Los Angeles, for example) is at or below an annual income of $12,880 for a single person household, at or below $17,420 for two people, and at or below $21,960. For a two-person household, one of those millionaire Californians (assuming their annual income is about $650,000) makes more than that in a month.
So, how can those of us not living near the poverty line help those who are? It seems like a daunting task, but there are a few easy actions California residents can take to help with the state's poverty issue. First of all, get informed. Learn about resources available and challenges impoverished people face. And, if you are informed, reach out to someone who isn't and help spread awareness of facts.
Second, California residents can donate their time toward volunteering in their communities or make kits to assist those dealing with homelessness in their areas. Finally, for those fortunate enough to be employed and to provide employment, California residents can create jobs that are open to hiring homeless or impoverished individuals.
California's rich are getting richer, but we can combat the widening wealth gap in the state by taking individual responsibility for our part in the equation.