The Golden State has rapidly lost its qualities of unique natural beauty due to irresponsible immigration-driven population growth. The quality of life for California residents has declined. The state's population has more than doubled since 1960 (15.7 million in 1960; 34 million today). All the while we are assured by real estate robber barons that endless growth is wonderful.
It is one thing to talk about a population explosion in India, where the bicycle is the standard of personal transport. But when that level of density is superimposed on an automobile-dependent state, skyrocketing highway congestion makes the simplest activities increasingly frustrating. Every Californian (except those in the remotest areas) spends additional hours of precious personal time driving to work, shopping and doing errands. People have to work more hours to survive economically and have to waste more leisure time on personal business.
It is not surprising, then, that California has been in the forefront of states where local citizens have fought back against sprawl by enacting urban growth boundaries and other legal strategies to protect their communities. A very restrictive measure in Contra Costa County was defeated at the polls last election, but there is another approach being readied in Alameda County for the November 2000 vote.
OVERPOPULATION AFFECTS DAILY LIFE
Consider just what is going on and how quickly our quality of life is being destroyed. It's a train ride off a cliff.
Because of population growth, California will be chronically short of water by 2010. (That means higher consumer costs, possible water rationing and ecologically damaging schemes like the Peripheral Canal which was defeated at the polls in 1982 but is being politically repackaged for today's more extreme needs.)
Southern California's Metropolitan Water District, serving 16 million people, says its existing water supply will meet only 43 percent of the demand in the year 2010.
According to Sen. Paul Simon's book Tapped Out, without preventive action by policymakers, California may face dry wells and disappearing water tables, leading to Dust Bowl-like conditions. Simon favors technological fixes to deal with water shortages, such as desalinization plants which are very expensive and require a lot of energy to operate at a time when we should be reducing our consumption of fuel. Lesson there are no easy fixes.
California is losing farmland at a rate of up to 300,000 acres per year. The American Farmland Trust predicts that 15 percent of the Central Valley's cultivated land could be lost to population pressures the number of Valley residents is predicted to double in the next 40 years.
AND THEN THERE'S TRAFFIC
The brutal conditions on the highways are largely the result of population growth.
Caltrans reported (2/19/99) that traffic congestion on California urban freeways is increasing an average of 10 percent per year, costing motorists nearly $8 million in lost time and excess fuel use each day.
While the state's population went up nearly 50 percent in the last 20 years (from 24 to 34 million), the lanes of new roads increased over the same period by just 16 percent, with most of that occurring within new subdivisions.
By 2020, drivers in Southern California are expected to spend 70 percent of their time in stop-and-go traffic, as compared to 56 percent now, according to the Southern California Association of Governments, due to exploding population.
The nine counties that comprise the Bay Area are projected to grow in population from 6.9 to eight million by 2020.
The Texas Transportation Institute's 1999 survey rated San Francisco as having the third-worst traffic in the nation.
Most major highway construction occurred between 1945 and 1975. Caltrans has estimated that around $100 billion must be spent over the next decade for necessary maintenance and reconstruction of existing roads.
The recitation of growth-caused problems is just beginning unless Congress acts to stem to flow of immigration. After all, California is the favorite destination of immigrants, legal and illegal, well-educated and illiterate. Our elected officials must be confronted with the reality of the future they are creating and that it must stop.
by Brenda Walker
How Many Californians?
A Review of Population Projections for the State from the Public Policy Institute of California
Fascinating trivia for those who like that sort of thing
The Road to Overpopulation Is Roads
If you build them (roads), they (everyone) will come.
Transit Overload Feared For Downtown San Francisco
Public transit will not be enough with the levels of population growth projected.
A report from the Sacramento Bee
California Will Be Bursting at the Seams by 2040, Demographers Say
Sixty million in 40 years. Unimaginable.
Isaac Asimov: Is Anyone Listening?
(About population) Back when numbers were quite a bit smaller.
Population of California Counties, 1850 - 1990
The basic numbers from the California Department of Finance show the extremely rapid growth that the state has experienced over the last few decades.
California parasites kill the goose that produced the Golden State, according to Victor David Hanson, grape farmer and professor of classics.
Californians Aren't Energy Hogs
This article doesn't get into the overpopulation cause, but does have some interesting history about energy usage and the consumer culture. And Californians rank 47th in per capita energy usage.
Too many people, too little power
This article details overall population growth as the cause, while per capita electricity use has remained the same for 25 years.
California's year 2000 population is one ugly number, if you happen to care about natural beauty, water supply and a liveable future. And it hasn't stopped there of course, since the state's population adds 600,000 annually.
Interview with Earth Day Founder Gaylord Nelson
He named population as the #1 environmental problem, then went on to say, But in this country, it's phony to say 'I'm for the environment but not for limiting immigration.' It's just a fact that we can't take all the people who want to come here.
This Sacramento Bee series of articles focuses on how the environmental movement has been corrupted by money and influence. The Sierra Club and other large organizations were criticized for losing track of their core mission saving the planet.
Golden State is home to one-third of nation's Latinos
This article has a lot of interesting statistics about California's exploding Latino population.
Drought could be our next crisis:
Population growth threatens water supply
According to the California state hydrologist, Our situation could be very serious if we have a dry season next year. We simply don't have the storage capacity to carry us through two dry years anymore.
100-year high in California's percentage of foreign-born
The state's foreign-born population is reckoned at 25.9 percent, the highest since the 1890s. The number for the nation as a whole is 11.2 percent, due to the 13.3 million immigrants arriving in the 1990s.
Immigration's Dire Effect on the Environment
Meredith Burke examined the resignation of David Brower from the Sierra Club in 2000 over the organization's general lack of urgency about the environment and its refusal to face up to American overpopulation, fueled by immigration.
Snapshot of California Schools
Some scary headlines: In 2000-2001, California spent $49 billion to educate about 6 million students. California's 1.8% enrollment growth over the previous year was substantially more than the 0.6% increase in the U.S, and projections are that the growth will continue.
Poverty Soaring in Los Angeles
The "Mexican city" (so called by Mayor James Hahn) of the south is rapidly becoming the Third World, with 40 percent of its residents born outside of the United States. One-third cannot speak English well and 19 percent of adults over 24 have less than a ninth-grade education. The unsurprising result with such demographics is a shrinking middle class and a permanent underclass.
Cash Economy Threatens Wages, Tax Base
A 2002 study by the Los Angeles Economic Rountable found that up to 28 percent of workers in the county are paid in cash, with over $1 billion not being paid into Social Security, workman's comp and other social safety net programs every year. Such economic chaos makes the area unattractive to law-abiding business and investors, who don't want to put money "down a rathole," as remarked by the author of the report.
California rapid population growth is largely due to immigration
The editor of "E" magazine sorts through the unavoidable facts that remain even with a barrage of politically correct accusations of racism about the subject: immigration is the engine driving the state to environmentally destructive overpopulation.
All roads lead to the Bay Area
The San Francisco area has an immigrant population growing even faster than the California average, with 700,000 new immigrants flocking to the nine counties during the 1990-2000 decade. That influx increased the number of foreign born by 63 percent. Nearly two million people out of the Bay Area's 6.8 million are immigrants, a stunning 27.5 percent in 2000. In the city of San Francisco the percentage of foreign born is 37 percent.
Los Angeles Area Animated Maps
Of particular interest is the map showing percentage of Hispanic population from 1940 to 2000.
Bay Area Census
Easy-to-read figures from the 2000 Census about San Francisco and the Bay Area as a whole including historical growth. Here is a chart of U.S. Census figures from 2001-02.
Study: Hispanic babies majority of newborns in California
Along with the demographic story, the underlying selfishness about family size is hard to ignore among Hispanics. Scene: UCLA Medical Center, where 35-year-old Maria Castellanos has just given birth to her sixth child. The father, a retired construction worker loves children but admits "Unfortunately, we don't have enough money." But perhaps we should look at the bright side Maria explained through a translator that her grandmother had 25 children.
Foreign-born growth changing state's face
There are many interesting statistics in this article, notably "California's U.S.-born population actually declined by 1.5 million people last decade" as Americans left in droves.
Health Care For Illegals Cost Los Angeles County $350 Million in 2002
Enormous costs for illegal aliens have caused cuts in services for taxpaying citizens. "Illegal immigrants have impacted our county taxpayers," Supervisor Michael Antonovich said. "We have a $350 million debt as a result of these people receiving medical treatment illegally."
BART thinks to future
Bay Area Rapid Transit is the high-tech train system in the San Francisco Bay Area. The exploding population growth portends standing room only in a couple decades or so. "BART planners expect ridership to continue a steady climb over the next 25 years -- to 500,000 riders each weekday [from around 300,000 today] -- as the Bay Area adds 1.6 million residents and 1.2 million jobs and traffic congestion gets 150 percent worse, according to Association of Bay Area Governments projections."
State's first-in-a-generation growth plan 'stillborn'
A California 1970 state law requires a statewide plan every four years to guide urban development, a report issued in only 1978 and another in 2003 just a week before Gov. Gray Davis left office after the recall election. The study reveals in detail the effects from the state's exploding population, but the report is practically a secret because nobody in Sacramento wants to face the dire facts. You can download a PDF version here.
This fine article weaves together environmental, social and fiscal reasons why unlimited growth is killing California. From the dwindling water supply to the unflagging belief that growth is good, author Lee Green gets the big picture, and expresses grief at the paradise that has been lost in such a short time.
Contra Costa prepares for rapid growth
Contra Costa County lies on the eastern side of the San Francisco Bay and is mostly suburban bedroom communities with a population of one crowded million people. Next to the totally urban San Francisco Couny, Contra Costa is the most developed in the nine counties of the Bay Area with more than 25 percent developed, compared with 19 percent in Santa Clara County and 20 percent in San Mateo. The Association of Bay Area Governments estimates that an additional quarter million people will live in Contra Costa within 25 years.
Bay Area air quality is cleanest in 35 years
Good news: improved air due to tough regulations and better technology. Bad news: "the Bay Area's population, driven by a powerful economy and high levels of immigration, has increased nearly 50 percent in the past 30 years, from 4.6 million in 1970 to 6.8 million in 2000." Techno-fixes can only go so far, and simply cannot keep up with a population explosion of this magnitude.
Census Projections for USA to 2050
An easy-to-read chart showing high, medium and low population growth projections for the United States.
UC Berkeley Student Statistics - 2002
Lots of fascinating numbers showing the new, "diverse" California. Here's a factoid: "Only 28 percent of the freshmen and 36 percent of the transfers came from families where both parents were born in the United States." This is not Mario Savio's Berkeley any more.
© 2005 Brenda Walker All rights reserved.