Los Angeles' housing crisis has been building for long enough that just about anyone who rents an apartment here could have told you about it years ago. But it wasn't until last summer that UCLA released a report confirming what many of us already know: as a function of average rents (high) and average incomes (low, especially compared to those in San Francisco and New York) Los Angeles is the least-affordable rental market in the country.
Circulating around the blogosphere now is a single graph that illustrates why:
Of California's roughly 37 million people, not a single one of them remembers a time when the state was not growing at a seemingly out-of-control pace. With the exception of the Depression and World War II years, our state has tripped over itself to build homes, roads, and entire cities nearly from scratch. We bulldozed one patch of desert, farmland, or chaparral only to find the surveyors marking up the next plot. It's been exhilarating, but also exhausting.
And, according to analysis of the latest Census data, it may be coming to an end.
The preliminary results of the 2010 U.S. Census are in, and so far they depict a California quite different from the one that the state's localities have been planning for the past few decades. It is no longer a young, family-oriented state that lives in detached homes but rather an aging, childless state that is turning back towards the center cities. And, though California's population - estimated at 37.2 million - is bigger than ever, its growth rate is a shadow of its former self.