The Graying of California

“Anyone who hates children and animals can’t be all bad.” So declared W.C. Fields.

California is fast becoming a place he would love.

In the past decade, California has lost nearly a quarter-million of its youngest residents, those aged 5 to 9 years, according to “The Changing Household and Family,” a census analysis (pdf) co-authored by USC’s Edward Flores and Dowell Myers.

That’s more than an 8-percent decline.

The problem is even worse in L.A. County, where the numbers show the decline in young children is 21 percent.

The loss of children reflects the difficult living conditions for families facing high housing costs and diminishing job opportunities, Flores and Myers say.

Fewer children today means down the road there will be fewer workers contributing part of their salaries to the Social Security pool upon which aging Baby Boomers will rely.

Myers, a renowned author and demographer, says this loss of our young population is unprecedented in California.

"We're heading into uncharted territory," he said.

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