By Robert Stark
California prides itself on its diversity with race relations that are generally better than many other parts of the nation. However, California, as a beacon for diversity, does have major problems including income inequality and a massive exodus out of the state. Problems with the housing shortage and out-of-touch centralized institutions create a zero sum competition that could lead to greater social problems, political tension, and worse race relations down the road.
For instance the housing crisis has been linked to the broader woke culture war with a focus on single family zoning being linked to increasing segregation. Besides the problem of displacement in housing there is a greater trend of fragmentation with emerging enclavism throughout California. This trend of ethnic fragmentation is especially strong in the urban areas of Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area with a new interactive segregation map for the Bay Area showing which areas are the most segregated.
Urbanist Richard Florida at Bloomberg’s Citylab documents how there has been greater demographic fragmentation in urban areas based upon research from a study by Elizabeth Delmelle: a professor of geography and earth sciences at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. The study tracks demographic changes from 1990 to 2010 with a wide range of categories based upon socio-economic status and ethnicity.
These demographic trends are neither the strict segregation of the past nor the blended society that was the dream of liberalism but, rather, a quilt-like patchwork of many different enclaves. The LA Times has a diversity index for Los Angeles neighborhoods and, as with the Bay Area’s segregation map, we can see that the most diverse areas are, generally, either middle-income areas with a high concentration of new apartment construction or areas that are undergoing a transformation such as gentrification, or attracting a new demographic.