“People ask my why I live in California where the marriages last 2 months, the trials last 2 years, earthquakes, mudslides, road rage and fires. Then one day you’re playing baseball in the park, it’s 80 degrees out and you think. My gosh! It’s January!” – From the sitcom, Its Like, You Know
I grew up in California and even though I’ve spent more years now in the state of Virginia I still consider myself a Californian. Which is why it pains me to see my state go to pot. (Wait, that’s not the right term…).
California has a fiscal problem. One of the indicators that things are not always sunny in California are the MASSIVE welfare rolls in the state. According to 2010 TANF data provided by HHS California accounts for 32.62% of all the welfare rolls in the country. One third! (Hat tip to Chuck DeVore who posted something like this last year.)
Using one of my favorite tools by IBM called Many Eyes (http://www-958.ibm.com/) I put together some visualizations to show you just how bad it is. (You can play with your own visualizations and the data here).
First let’s compare California in a bubble chart to other states and
Next, welfare rolls by %:
How about a map visualization? The darker the color, the larger the amount of welfare rolls:
How about 2010 compared to 2009. Did rolls increase in California? You betcha but not as big a % as other states. California saw a 6.5% increase in their welfare rolls. The national average was 5%. Wisconsin, by comparison, saw a 25% increase in their welfare rolls. But when you talk about brute numbers… California is still looking pretty bad.
Here’s a tree graph showing the number of welfare recipients added from 2009 to 2010.
Bottom line: California has some serious financial problems. The fact that they own a third of all the country’s TANF recipients is disconcerting.