COVID-19 has been a tragedy for California. More than 3.5 million Californians contracted the disease and almost 60,000 died from it. Efforts to curtail the pandemic have left almost one in ten people out of jobs. Low‐income and minority Californians, have been hit hardest. Pro‐growth policies are needed to restart the state’s economy. But growth will not be enough unless all Californians are fully able to participate. Therefore, particular attention needs to be paid to the impact of the state’s policies on low‐income communities. California’s economic recovery is an opportunity to reform regulations and restraints that have long penalized the poor and minorities.
Even before the economic disruptions caused by COVID-19, far too many Californians were living in poverty. Now, that dire situation can only be expected to grow worse. The Cato Project on Poverty and Inequality in California was launched in 2019 to study the root causes of poverty in California and recommend practical solutions designed to help all Californians prosper and rise as far as their individual talents and abilities will take them.