How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

There are more Latinos in California, but not in Echo Park

Photo by Kent Kanouse/Flickr (Creative Commons)

The Chango coffee house on Echo Park Avenue, part of the gentrified Echo Park, October 2005

Earlier this week, the 2010 census results for California revealed a state in which overall, the white population has shrunk in the last decade, while the Latino population has continued to grow. But what about in L.A.'s formerly Latino neighborhoods that have gentrified?

In ultra-gentrified Echo Park, the trend happened in reverse. The Eastsider LA blog featured a post on the neighborhood's changing demographics, citing census numbers which show that since 2000, the percentage of Latinos in census tract 1974.20, sandwiched between Glendale Boulevard and Echo Park Avenue, dropped by 10 percent. At the same time, as the neighborhood became synonymous with hip, rents skyrocketed and non-Latino white creatives and young professionals snapped up property, the white population climbed 10 percent.

The incoming wealth also made the area less dense. From the post:

During that decade, this central slice  of the neighborhood, which runs from Sunset Boulevard on the south to Avalon Street on the north, grew less crowded, with the population dropping by about 15% to about 3,500 people. While Latinos remained the majority, their share of the population fell from nearly 70% to below 60%.  The white population, meanwhile, grew from about 13% in 2000 to about 23% last year. Asians’ share of the population remained about the same at about 13%.

There are a couple of nifty pie charts, too.

Similar changes took place earlier on in neighboring Silver Lake, where I lived for a while as a kid in the days when it was a Latino neighborhood, then later as a young adult when it was undergoing its own population shift. Both neighborhoods are now very different places indeed.

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