California’s Population Moves Ever-Upward, Terrible News for State’s Residents

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By Joe Guzzardi

Joe is a CAPS Senior Writing Fellow whose commentaries about California's social issues have run in newspapers throughout California and the country for nearly 30 years. Contact Joe at joeguzzardi@capsweb.org, or find him on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.

The writer's views are his own.

May 10, 2016

For the first time in history, Los Angeles’ population tops four million. According to California’s Department of Finance, Los Angeles has 50,000 more people than the previous reporting year. Statewide, California’s population grew 0.9 percent, or 348,000 additional residents, to push the statewide total to 39.3 million. The drought and poverty-stricken San Joaquin Valley grew faster than any area, 1.3 percent, and is expected to have a growth rate 65 higher than the state average through 2030.

L.A. traffic less congested than China’s – for now!

 

To growth-crazed Sacramento, California’s relentless population increases reflect an economic recovery and should be celebrated. DOF demographer Walter Schwarm said that increases in the Central Valley, Sacramento and the Inland Empire show that the state’s growth is “more balanced.”

But to Californians for Population Stabilization, more people translates to environmental degradation with more of the state’s lakes, rivers, national parks and wildlife habitats compromised, as well as overconsumption of irreplaceable natural resources. Californians can expect greater traffic gridlock and may face more drastic water conservation measures as more people use more water.

Respected blogger Dr. Housing Bubble identified another undesirable consequence of too many people: multi-unit housing replacing single-family homes. Since many of the new Californians can neither afford to buy nor can qualify for a mortgage, there’s a boom in the rental market. An example of today’s Los Angeles real estate market that’s forced people to rent: a 791 square foot house in Vernon, two bedrooms, one bath, $200,000.

At the rate California’s population is increasing, Dr. Housing Bubble foresees the state as on its way to population densities similar to Beijing and Sao Paulo.

CAPS created a 20-minute mini-documentary, California: Then, Now, which provides perspective to the state’s population crisis and the challenges it must overcome to save some of California for future generations. Watch it here.

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