A story in the Planning Report newsletter describes how a slower growing or declining population in some urban portions of Southern California has been a big driver behind the redistricting at the federal, state and local level. For example, the population of Congressman Xavier Becerra’s old 31st Congressional District fell to 611,000 in the 2010 census from 640,000 a decade earlier. The former 45th Assembly District represented by Gil Cedillo reported a drop in population to 406,000 from 423,000. In addition, the city’s 13th Council District held by Eric Garcetti and the former 22nd state Senate District represented by Kevin DeLeon fell far below population targets that determine boundaries.
Management consultant Larry Kaplan, who authored the story, notes that these districts included all or portions of Atwater Village, East Hollywood, Echo Park, Glassell Park, Mount Washington and Silver Lake. The drop in population should come as no surprise, Kaplan said:
Anyone who follows real estate trends, or is a student of L.A.’s development patterns, or who reads the Planning Report regularly, knows that these are some of the most dramatically—one could even say aggressively—gentrifying neighborhoods in all of Southern California.
So what happened between 1990, 2000 and 2010? Large working-class, mostly Latino, families moved out and small upscale households moved in, as property values and housing costs skyrocketed with the real estate bubble. Instead of multi-generational families with several children, you saw hipster and gay or lesbian couples, or empty nesters as mom and dad stayed while the kids set up their own family households in other parts of the region (many of those offspring went to the Inland Empire, which saw large increases in its overall population and in the number of Latinos). As one observer wryly observed, “there are cars in all those garages again.”