A $50,000 electric bill? The cost of cooling L.A.’s biggest houses in a heat wave? The cost of housing families and kids during the winter? City officials are in the dark.
By a large majority, Angelenos think the problems of the past few years are behind them, according to a new study released Tuesday titled “The Next Los Angeles.”
If the study is right, Los Angeles will soon have a higher per capita standard of living than any other city in the United States. But even after three years of solid government spending on public transit, housing, education, arts, recreation, the environment and law enforcement, the city is still falling behind.
Over the past 40 years, Los Angeles’s per capita income has grown by about $13,000; the income per person in New York, by about $7,000; in Chicago, by about $7,500; and in Boston, by about $10,000.
But the income per person in Los Angeles has grown by only $3,000 in the past six years, according to the study, which was conducted by the UCLA Anderson Performance & Public Affairs Center for the Urbanization Lab. The city that once was a leader has fallen behind by about five years in the per capita income scale.
And while L.A. now has the second-slowest growth rate of any major city in the United States and one of the fastest growing rates of the lowest-income group in the country, the study found that the city’s average income per child has fallen only 2.1 percent from its peak two decades ago. Meanwhile, New York City has a per capita income that is higher than Washington, D.C., for the first time in the past two decades, and Seattle and Philadelphia have risen to No. 1 and 2 in that category.
“We are in a bit of a crisis, and while there is much to like about the city, there is also much to criticize,” said Andrew Sum, a former official in the Clinton White House and assistant mayor to Mayor Richard Riordan. “Some of the things we don’t agree on are the most important things.”
In order to understand L.A.’s failure, one must look no further than the state of housing, which has been stagnant since the recession.
To better understand the state of the housing market, UCLA economists and housing experts gathered several years of data