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Metropolitan Futures Initiative report provides look at demographic and economic changes over 50 years

Inequality and segregation are on the rise in Southern California, according to the Metropolitan Futures Initiative Quarterly Report.

The recently-released report provides a picture of the demographic and economic change in the region — which includes Orange, Los Angeles, San Diego, Ventura, Riverside, San Bernardino counties — since 1970.

“The results show that income segregation is higher in Southern California counties compared to average U.S. large counties, indicating that those with different levels of income are particularly likely to live in different neighborhoods in the region,” says John Hipp, professor of criminology, law and society and urban planning and public policy. “Median rents and home values are rising faster in the region compared to average incomes, more evidence of the challenges of affordable housing in the region.”

Hipp and graduate student Benjamin Forthun, co-authored the report. It studies the changes in inequality and racial composition and segregation in each of the six Southern California counties over five decades. Result highlights include: 

Orange County has gone from the least racial/ethnic mixing in 1970 to the most by 2018.Hipp Headshot

Los Angeles County has the highest level of income inequality.

Ventura County has the lowest level of income inequality.

After rising in earlier years, income inequality in Orange County has held relatively steady since 2000.

Income segregation is higher in Southern California counties compared to average U.S. large counties.

Income segregation rose sharply in the 2000s, though it has fallen a bit since 2010.

Since 2000, incomes are rising fastest in San Diego County. Whereas the median income in San Diego County was 10% higher than the average large county in the U.S. in 2000, it was 30% higher by 2018.

Incomes in Los Angeles County went from equal to the average large county in the U.S. in 2000 to 20% higher by 2018.

Since 2000, median rents and home values are rising faster in Southern California.

Whereas the median income in Orange County is 50% higher than in the average large county in the U.S., median rents are 90% higher, and median home values are 210% higher.

Read the full report on the MFI website.