Connecting Generations for Good

Trends to Watch: Los Angeles’ Changing Demographics

April 13, 2015

The Eisner Foundation was thrilled to see the work of Dowell Myers, PhD, professor at the University of Southern California, featured in the Los Angeles Daily News. As a demographer and urban planner, Myers is the rare academic who can interpret data and present it in an accessible way to the general public.

In this recent article, Myers addressed five ways in which Los Angeles County is changing. These features are important because they should be reflected in tax and social services policies. Unfortunately, Myers says, “People are unconsciously working with a set of assumptions that are about 20 years out of date.”

When there is a gap between public policy and reality, foundations like ours have an important role to play. For example, if Los Angeles County currently has 20 seniors for every 100 people of prime working age, and that ratio is expected to double (meaning 40 seniors to every 100 people of working age) by 2040, we can expect that the demands on working-aged individuals will increase tremendously. We know that public costs for seniors are the highest in their final stages of life. With more seniors requiring more care, public dollars will likely continue to be stretched thin in local and state governments. It follows, then, that there will likely be increased demand for affordable childcare, housing, healthcare, etc.

The Eisner Foundation believes the only way to address changing demographics like these is through programs that utilize the skill-sets of all ages. Bridge Meadows, the intentional housing community in Portland, OR and 2014 Eisner Prize winner, is doing just that. The organization offers affordable housing to seniors and families that adopt children in the foster care system. All residents contribute to the community.

The Eisner Foundation is inspired by innovative approaches like this and sees Los Angeles County as an ideal location for intergenerational solutions. Indeed, many of the demographics explained by Myers will eventually be reflected in the population of the country. For more on how Los Angeles County actually looks today, and where we’re headed, don’t miss this piece from Dr. Myers!

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