Here's how to map L.A.'s separation of classes

class.jpg These Census tracts tell you a lot about the area's haves and have nots. The creative class, made up of folks in science and technology, business and management, arts, culture, media and entertainment, law, and healthcare, all live in the purple-shaded areas (notice the concentrations along the coast, western San Fernando Valley, and San Gabriel Valley). The service class, which covers workers in food service and preparation, retail sales, and clerical and administrative positions, are in red (concentrated in central L.A., the eastern SFV, portions of the South Bay, and inland Long Beach). And the working class, which include those with factory and construction jobs, are in blue (just a smattering of Census tracts). The creative class makes up 34.1 percent of L.A. area workers, slightly higher than the national average, according to an analysis by The Atlantic's Richard Florida. The service class is at 46.3 percent and the working class 19.5 percent. These breakdowns are not especially surprising, but the map's shadings offer a dramatic relief to what's become one of the most polarized regions of the country. Going back to the 1940s and 1950s, it wasn't neary this way; the working class made up a far larger percentage of the labor force. Would any of the candidates for mayor care to take a crack at this? Of the creative class, Florida writes:

In the city, there is a major creative class cluster stretching from Hollywood, Bel Air, and Westwood, where UCLA is located, to the beach community of Venice, and a small cluster near downtown, especially around USC. For the metro broadly, the creative class stretches out along the coast from Santa Monica, home to the RAND Corporation and Milken Institute to Malibu on the north; and, Manhattan Beach to Palos Verdes; south from Huntington Beach and Newport Beach to Irvine, home to the University of California, Irvine, Laguna Beach and Dana Point; as well Pasadena, home to Caltech and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.


Following the pattern we saw in the first post in this series on New York, L.A. too is divided and segmented by class. But unlike New York's pattern, with its heavy creative class concentration at the core in Manhattan and surrounding parts of Brooklyn and Jersey City, L.A.'s creative class, much of which is no doubt affiliated with the film and television industry, is more spread out along the coast. That said, L.A.'s class geography does not conform to a typical urban-suburban pattern, with lower-wage service workers concentrated in the urban core and the more affluent creative class at the suburban fringe. The pattern of creative class clustering seen in New York does carry over but is expressed in different forms. There are creative class pockets in the city and its downtown as well as in coastal suburbs.

Here are the top 10 creative class locations:

Neighborhood (Census Tract #) Creative Class Share
Turtle Rock/UC Irvine, Orange County (626.29) 84.3%
Laurel Canyon, Hollywood (1941.02) 79.5%
Woodland Hills (1375.04) 78.1%
Westwood (2651) 78.0%
North of Montana, Santa Monica (7012.01) 77.9%
South Pasadena (4635) 77.7%
Rancho Park, Palms (2693) 77.4%
Los Feliz (882.02) 76.7%
South Arroyo, Pasadena (4638) 76.6%
Cheviot Hills, Palms (2695) 76.0%
Metro Average 34.1%

Top 10 service locations...

Neighborhood (Census Tract #) Service Class Share
Cal Poly Pomona (4024.04) 82.3%
USC, West Adams-Expo Park (2227) 79.5%
Bixby Village, Long Beach (5746.01) 79.4%
Park Mesa Heights, Crenshaw (2349.01) 78.3%
Silver Lake/Chinatown (2071.02) 74.9%
Silver Lake/Chinatown (2071.03) 71.5%
North Hollywood (1241.03) 71.1%
Hollywood Heights (1902.01) 69.0%
Cambodia Town, Long Beach (5764.01) 68.9%
Hollywood (1908.01) 68.8%
Metro Average 46.3%

Top 10 working class districts...

Neighborhood (Census Tract #) Working Class Share
Westlake (2089.02) 69.9%
Whiteman Airport, Pacoima (1047.03) 65.0%
Central Alameda, South Park (2287.10) 62.9%
Pixley Park, Maywood (5333) 62.2%
El Monte (4333.02) 59.8%
Westlake (2084.01) 59.1%
Cudahy (5344.03) 58.9%
South Park (2240.10) 58.6%
Central Alemeda, South Park (2281) 58.2%
South Figueroa, South Park (2284.10) 57.3%
Metro Average 19.5%

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
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