Multi-American

How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Report: Native-born Californians will soon be majority in LA County

A new report predicts that by 2030, two-thirds of young adults in the state will have been born in California.
A new report predicts that by 2030, two-thirds of young adults in the state will have been born in California. Corey Moore/KPCC

Los Angeles has long been thought of as a port of entry, a destination city for newcomers from around the world. But as fewer newcomers arrive, and those who have settled here raise families, the rubric is changing.

A new study from the University of Southern California predicts that by the end of this year, for the first time in recorded history, a majority of Los Angeles County residents will be native-born Californians. 

Researchers from the university's Population Dynamics Research Group say that with fewer immigrants arriving in the region, and those who are already here staying long-term, the county’s characteristics have changed.

According to the report, the foreign-born population in Los Angeles peaked around 2000 at 36 percent; now, about 60 percent of local children are the second-generation sons and daughters of immigrants. This is contributing to what USC researchers call a “homegrown revolution,” as native-born Angelenos gradually replace newcomers from other countries and out-of-state.

With this comes not only a change in Angelenos' place of origin, but in these residents' ties to their community and how invested they are in the region. From the report:

Our city has shifted from a place of transplants to a home where the majority are native Californians, a new homegrown generation on which the future will rest. What is revolutionary is not the change in behavior, because the city, region and whole of California have steadily entered this new era of demographic maturity. What is new is the change in outlook that may be triggered by this radical demographic realignment.

The study predicts that by 2030, a projected 66 percent of the region's immigrants will have lived here at least 20 years. At the same time, by then nearly two-thirds of young adults will have been born and raised in California.

But don’t expect a population boom of California girls and boys. Births in L.A. County were 35 percent lower in 2011 than they were in 1990, meaning there will be fewer kids as the senior population rises.

The full report can be downloaded here

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