California's shift to a majority native-born population, marking the end of a century-plus of migrants from other states and countries fueling growth and much of the Golden State's politics, portends a new narrative going forward as the baby boom generation grows old, USC demographer Dowell Meyers argues in a piece in summer edition of the UC Press magazine Boom and adapted for Sunday's LA Times opinion pages. Sample:
For the first time in history, California-born residents constitute a majority of the state's total population, at 53.8% in 2010.
Native Californians are now the state's only majority because every racial group has been a minority in California since 1999. This means responsibility for the future will continue to be broadly shared.
What does this mean? For one thing, that race and ethnicity are far less important issues. Instead, we face major generational challenges. The first is that California may not have enough children to sustain workforce levels....
The state's gravest problem is that the giant baby boom generation has finally arrived on the threshold of retirement. Never before has California (or the United States) been so top-heavy with seniors. What's crucial for the state's well-being is the ratio between the number of seniors (65 and older) and the number of prime working-age residents who will support them. That relation, known as the "senior ratio," is not good in California.
California, he argues, "needs a politics rooted in 2012, not in 1978 or 1994."
Also in Boom Summer 2012: Rubén Martínez goes out to Joshua Tree to observe "an ambitious and idiosyncratic work of assemblage by artist Noah Purifoy," and Alex Schmidt "examines the phenomenon of 'flipping' distressed houses in Northeast Los Angeles neighborhoods such as Highland Park and Echo Park from aesthetic, economic, and cultural perspectives."