Census Bureau reports that 1.6-million county residents were below the poverty threshold in 2009 ($10,956 for a single and $21,954 for a family of four). That put the poverty rate at 16.1 percent in 2009, up from 15.2 percent the previous year. From the LAT:
The higher poverty level means higher costs for government programs, such as food stamps and unemployment compensation, and potentially heavier tax burdens for the country as a whole. California's poverty rate jumped to 15.3% last year, the highest in 11 years. Analysis by the California Budget Project showed that 2 million children in the state lived in families with incomes below the poverty line.