Immigrants build stronger, safer SoCal communities

Contrary to some perceptions, the large influx of Asian and Latino immigrants into Southern California over the past 50 years has resulted in stronger and safer multicultural communities, according to a report to be released next week by UC Irvine.

High levels of ethnic mixing were found to be associated with increased property values, lower joblessness and less crime in many areas throughout the five counties.

The inaugural Southern California Regional Progress Report was prepared by researchers with the School of Social Ecology’s Metropolitan Futures Initiative, which aims to build a base of knowledge to guide policymakers in improving the overall quality of life in the Southland.

Five faculty members, 10 graduate students and six undergraduates collected data from 14 sources on the region’s demographic, social and economic landscape. It allows for systematic statistical analyses at the county, city, neighborhood and street-block levels.

The report draws on this unprecedented data set to examine the interrelationships among such community factors as racial/ethnic demographics, employment and economic welfare, housing density and availability, crime and public safety, and land use.

It’s intended to serve as a catalyst for evidence-based dialogue that will inform planning for the future. Subsequent biennial reports will continue to monitor trends and expand the domain of coverage to include, for example, health and welfare.

UCI Chancellor Michael Drake will host a breakfast event to release and discuss the Metropolitan Futures Initiative report on Thursday, June 14, at the UCI Student Center.

“This inaugural study provides a wealth of findings on the area’s changing landscape – findings that constitute crucial considerations for successfully planning a future with healthy, sustainable, affordable, safe, economically vibrant and just communities in which residents enjoy the many benefits of Southern California,” said Valerie Jenness, dean of UCI’s School of Social Ecology.

“These reports will provide policymakers, businesses, residents and others with essential information and thoughtful analyses about our region for years to come.”

The soon-to-be-released study examines data from the past 50 years to paint a broad yet incisive picture of Southern California. Researchers compiled the data in metropolitan clusters by grouping together cities that are geographically close and socially similar. Among the findings:

  • The ethnic makeup of Southern California has changed dramatically during the past five decades: Latino and Asian populations have grown substantially; the African American population has become concentrated within fewer communities; and the proportion of whites has steadily decreased.
  • South Central Los Angeles provides a glimpse of the changing landscape: African Americans made up the majority of residents in 1960, with Latinos accounting for 8.5 percent of the population. In 2007, the area was 80 percent Latino and just 15 percent African American.
  • The burgeoning immigrant population in Southern California communities has contributed to increases in property values and decreases in crime rates. Southern California air quality has improved dramatically over the past three decades.
  • Neighborhoods with 10 percent more Latinos than surrounding areas at the beginning of the 2000s experienced a 1.3 percent greater increase in home values over the decade.
  • Similarly, ethnically mixed neighborhoods in Southern California today are more likely to have higher property values than homogenous neighborhoods, reversing a trend from earlier decades. In the 1980s and 1990s, neighborhoods with higher levels of racial/ethnic mixing at the beginning of the decade experienced lower home value appreciation over the following 10 years.
  • There is evidence of a revival in downtown Los Angeles, as the inner city has become a hub of mixed land uses and a 24-hour lifestyle. Violent crime downtown fell from 350 percent higher than the region average in 1990 to just 67 percent above the average in 2010 – during a period in which crime rates in general were trending downward. Meanwhile, rates for both the northeast San Fernando Valley and Hollywood Hills dropped from double or triple the average in 1990 to average levels in 2010. Rates for the Westside and Westwood/Beverly Hills areas fell from about average in 1990 to half the average in 2010.
  • The foreclosure crisis has begun to abate but has had a sizeable impact on home values throughout affected areas. Hardest hit were residents of San Bernardino and Riverside counties. Foreclosure rates also correlated strongly to falling home values throughout the region.
  • Home ownership corresponds to lower crime rates; a higher number of vacant units equates to higher crime rates.
  • In the city clusters within Los Angeles County, a large proportion of areas (17 of 24) showed year-over-year increases in average commute time between 1980 and 2007. The Claremont cluster had the lowest average commute time (25.4 minutes) in 2007, with the Glendale cluster close behind (25.7 minutes). The Lancaster cluster, an exurban area with comparatively low home values and fewer available jobs, had the highest average commute time in the county (36.4 minutes) in 2007.
  • Los Angeles County had 6.6 million vehicles registered in 2007. Only six states – Florida, Illinois, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas – had more vehicles registered. It should be no surprise that the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana metropolitan area is the nation’s most traffic-congested.
  • A 10 percent increase in nearby job density reduces a given household’s annual vehicle miles traveled by an average of 1.58 percent.

“A number of findings took us by surprise,” said John Hipp, associate professor of criminology, law & society who led the team of researchers behind the Southern California Regional Progress Report. “We’re looking forward to more extensively analyzing the data to better understand many of the changes that have shaped the region over time.”


The material in this press release comes from the originating research organization. Content may be edited for style and length. Have a question? Let us know.

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1 thought on “Immigrants build stronger, safer SoCal communities”

  1. THE LONG ROAD BACK IN THE FIGHT AGAINST ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION
    Republican Rep. Ben Quayle of Arizona has cosponsored three immigration bills from the list of bills that make up NumbersUSA “5 Reduction Immigration bills” Rep. Quayle has now cosponsored bills in 4 of our 5 categories – only omitted a bill to end the Visa Lottery. That bill, H.R.704 introduced by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, has already been approved by the House Judiciary Committee and can no longer add more cosponsors. Rep. Qualye serves on the Judiciary Committee and voted for H.R.704 during markup.

    $10 Billion dollars are being swallowed up in the Los Angeles Underground economy. With the largest population of illegal immigrants in any city; this is money not being poured into the county coffers to support the infrastructure and public services. Plus remember millions of those dollars are spirited overseas to foreign banks. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

    Last week, Rep. Qualye co-sponsored:

    H.R.100 – The CLEAR Act presented by Rep. Marsha Blackburn would augment interior enforcement by requiring federal immigration officials to cooperate with local law enforcement agents. It also provides full backing for SCAAP, which compensates states that incarcerate criminal illegal aliens.

    H.R.140 – The Birthright Citizenship Act introduced by Rep. Steve King would end Birthright Citizenship, requiring that at least one parent of a child born in the United States be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident. The U.S. is one of only two developed nations (Canada) to still offer Birthright Citizenship. This is a hundred billion dollar expenditure for taxpayers Smuggled children that inherit instant citizenship through misguided laws, which have not been tested in the Supreme Court. Another unfunded mandate, that is part of uncompensated mandates such as education through high school graduation, free health treatments from the common cold to expensive surgeries paid by YOU. An overcrowded prison system full of criminal aliens that is to blame for high percentages of wicked acts in the U.S. Then a kaleidoscope of welfare programs manipulated by both parties, giving access to programs, denied to our citizens and legal residents.

    H.R. 692 – The Nuclear Family Priority Act introduced by Rep. Phil Gingrey would finish Chain Migration. The bill would reform the family preference visa categories to only allow nuclear family members (spouses and minor children) that are foreign nationals to receive green cards. The bill would also create a provisional, but renewable visa for the parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents. Eliminating Chain Migration was a recommendation of the bi-partisan Barbara Jordan Commission issued in 1995 and would have the greatest impact in reducing overall immigration numbers.

    H.R. 2885 – Already well sponsored is Mandatory E-Verify, which was initially sponsored by Senator Lamar Smith of Texas. The bill entitled ‘The Legal Workforce Bill’ (H.R.2885) has been blocked by House speaker, John Boehner of Ohio and Dave Camp of Michigan, who is Chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee. Americans must insist these lawmakers. E-Verify have gained a success rate nationwide, but is still only voluntary. We must insist both parties place (H.R.2885) to be presented on the house floor without delay. Millions of Americans that remain jobless would benefit highly from mandatory E-Verify. This computer based government application can detect illegal workers and reject them from every business—large and small—with heavy punishment for indifferent company owners. Farmers are just as incorrigible as they pay little or nothing towards the illegal aliens they employ, leaving the medical treatment, schooling and welfare benefits for the state taxpayer to cover.

    Just these few zero tolerant bills, could begin a slow, but gaining departure of foreign nationals. Many will flee to Sanctuary States as California, Nevada, but nationwide mandatory laws would even end this.

    Years of intentional encouragement by both political parties, has erupted in a major response from anti-illegal alien organizations, including NumbersUSA, Americans for Legal Immigration (ALIPAC), The Heritage foundation, The Federation for Immigration Reform, Judicial Watch and thousands of more groups, blogs available to all readers across the Internet.

    Employment visas should only be granted to professional people and STEM workers (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) workers to the U.S. in an expedited process. However the STEM workers must be of the highest order, not undermining the top experienced intellects here? The Constitutional TEA PARTY is gaining in power and will unseat liberal Democrat-Republican pro-illegal immigration politicians, derailing open border zealot ideologies. Lastly we must oversee all elections, as Democrats are indifferent to illegal aliens voting, which is carefully hidden; surf the Internet for information on voter fraud and ID theft that has been gaining momentum in the last two decades. Read the latest irregularities by checking Florida.

    Join your local TEA PARTY (THE CONSTITUTIONAL PEOPLE’S PARTY) and fight back, before it’s too late. The Tea Party is huge and still increasing and ready to throw out corrupt lawmakers. The Tea Party will not tolerate in any shape or form Amnesty, or as carefully worded Comprehensive Immigration Reform. Even the Dream Act is a form of Amnesty, which can lead to more Chain Migration. This is the time to empty the sleaze from Washington. WE MUST RID OURSELVES OF THE TAX AND SPEND LAWMAKERS. Read in order by state the good politicians we have in congress at the ALIPAC website. Discover for yourself who in state and federal tiers of government, which incumbents should be dumped and who is really working for the American people? This will be crucial in the coming months as we head towards the most significant election of our lifetime. Study your states costs to pay for the financial support of the illegal alien invasion. Call your Senator and Congressman at the Washington, DC. , Switchboard 202-224-3121 and demand they pass these above mentioned laws. Only citizens have the right to vote, although the liberal Democrats have tried to conceal it, illegal aliens have been voting in large numbers for years.

    Anti-illegal immigration personages as Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Kris Kobach, Kansas Secretary of State, Senator Sessions of Arkansas, Tea Party Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker are some of a few standing alone, so we need to support these individuals. For without these two men the liberals Democrats, Republicans we would have open borders and no interior enforcement whatsoever.

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