<em>Patt Morrison</em> is known for its innovative discussions of local politics and culture, as well as its presentation of the effects of national and world news on Southern California.
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California “ground zero” for shrinking child population

Ethnic diversity is the norm among downtown pedestrians in Los Angeles.
Ethnic diversity is the norm among downtown pedestrians in Los Angeles.
David McNew/Getty Images

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The numbers are startling and the reasons behind them depressing. According to analysis of 2010 census numbers by Dowell Myers, who directs the USC Population Dynamics Research Group, the number of households shared by unmarried couples in California has spiked by 32 percent since 2000; households headed by single fathers have increased by 17 percent in the same period; and perhaps most surprisingly, Los Angeles County has lost 21 percent of its children aged five to nine. These numbers reflect difficult living conditions in a state and region with high unemployment, high housing costs and diminishing social services – all of which push young families to rebuild their lives elsewhere. Added to the mix is an upswing in the number of residents 45 and older, and you see a state on the extreme edge of a nationwide trend toward an aging population. What does this all mean as California tries to recover from a long-lasting economic downturn and a budget deficit that defies fixing?


Dowell Myers, co-author of the report analyzing census data; professor, Urban Planning; director, Population Dynamics Research Group in the School of Policy, Planning and Development at USC