For nearly 10 years, Fresno County had made good progress in combating poverty. However, the impact of the financial meltdown at the end of last decade took its toll, inflated the poverty rate, and helped secure the county’s ranking at the top of the list of impoverished counties.

According to recently analyzed information from the Census bureau, Fresno County had a poverty rate of 26.8%, or more than one in four. Since 2007 when the recession began, more than 70,000 people have fallen below the poverty level. That’s a 39% increase and equals roughly 8% of the county’s total population.

Other counties towards the top of the list include Tulare with 24.6% and Merced with 23.1%

From the Fresno Bee:

Soaring unemployment has pushed California’s poverty rate up for three straight years — but nowhere higher than in Fresno County, according to new Census data.

The nearly 250,000 county residents living in poverty in 2010 gives Fresno County claim to the state’s highest poverty rate, at 26.8%. Almost 70,000 more people lived in poverty last year than in 2007 when the recession began.

Statewide, 15.8% were impoverished, the census data show, up 3.4 percentage points from three years ago.

Read the full article here.