Wednesday, December 6, 2006
IN MY OPINION (Column)
Plum Trash Job
By BRAD SHERMAN
San Fernando Valley residents on average are better off, better educated, younger, and spend more of their income on their homes, according to newly-compiled Census Bureau data that I requested. It will help businesses, community organizations and all levels of government make better-informed decisions to shape the Valley’s future.
The census data examines 1.3 million people in the two congressional districts that comprise more than three-quarters of the Valley’s total population. At my urging, the Census Bureau will soon issue a report on the entire Valley, which had an estimated total population of about 1.7 million.
The preliminary snapshot from the new report, available online at www.BradSherman.House.gov, showed that in 2005 the median household income in most of the Valley is $49,612, an amount that is $3,286 more than the national figure. The Valley figure also is greater than the median household income for Los Angeles County ($48,248) and the City of Los Angeles ($42,667).
Among other findings:
•Valley women slightly outnumbered men 661,629 to 659,700.
•The median age was just under 34 years old, compared to 36 for the country as a whole.
•More than 19 percent of people 25 and older had bachelor’s degrees, compared to 17 percent nationwide.
•Almost 72 percent of workers over 16 drove to work alone, less than the 77 percent national average.
•There were 734,864 whites (56.8 percent), 123,869 Asians (9.5 percent) and 56,957 blacks or African Americans (4.4 percent). Hispanics and Latinos of all races totaled 653,903 (49.5 percent).
•In the Valley’s high-priced housing market, renters occupy almost half of the housing units. Nationally, one-third rent. Almost 45 percent of Valley homeowners with mortgages pay more than one-third of their household income on housing. Nationally, it’s 25 percent.
Those and other details in the Census Bureau report drive home the point that we are making a little bit more than the average American family, we spend the entire excess on housing. From a public policy standpoint, the housing-cost figures highlight the need to protect the home mortgage deduction on federal income taxes, a deduction that a White House tax advisory panel earlier this year proposed eliminating.
From a business standpoint, the report collects economic data that will help companies and entrepreneurs make decisions about where to locate, when to expand and what their customers need.
The more information we have about the Valley and its residents, the better informed our planning for the future will be. That is why I joined with the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in persuading the Census Bureau to prepare a report on the entire Valley that is due to be published soon. I look forward to that comprehensive report.
Copyright 2006, Metropolitan News Company