Garcetti in South LA
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti visits with residents in South Los Angeles. File photo by John Schreiber.

South Los Angeles has made little economic progress in the last five decades and by some measures has seen a decline, according to a new report released Wednesday.

The report from the Center for Neighborhood Knowledge, which is part of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, found that earning power, home ownership rates and other important benchmarks remain significantly lower in South Los Angeles than the rest of the county.

In 1960, South Los Angeles workers made 80 cents on the dollar compared to the average Los Angeles County worker, and today they make about 60 cents on every dollar, according to the report.

“The findings from UCLA are disturbing, but unfortunately not surprising. This is why I have worked with my colleagues to create policies that focus on equity and build stronger communities in South Los Angeles,” Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson, who represents part of South Los Angeles, said in an email to City News Service.

“Specifically, we are strengthening our Targeted Local Hire Program to connect Angelenos to good-paying public sector jobs, because we know that a quality job can change a person, a family, and a whole community. Just today we introduced a motion to address displacement and gentrification in South Los Angeles because the inequities addressed in this study make our communities vulnerable to push out. For the councilmembers that represent South L.A., studies like this inspire us and renew our urgency to create innovative and targeted solutions for South LA.”

Mayor Eric Garcetti did not respond to a request to comment on the study.

The report compared data that was documented in a 1968 report by the Kerner Commission, which was convened by President Lyndon Johnson to investigate the causes of the 1967 race riots and to provide recommendations for the future.

“This report is a sobering snapshot of the inequalities that have persisted in South Los Angeles 50 years since the 1968 report,” said Paul Ong, director of the Center for Neighborhood Knowledge.

The report also found that home ownership is lower in South Los Angeles than the county and has declined over time, with fewer than one in three South Los Angeles residents owning their own home Wednesday. Households in South Los Angeles are twice as likely to lack a car, according to the study, and three times as likely to rely on public transit for commuting.

Elementary school performance on standardized testing reveals persistent gaps between South Los Angeles and the most affluent neighborhoods in West Los Angeles, according to the report.

In 1990, children in South Los Angeles were only half as likely as county children to be enrolled in a private preschool, but the gap has grown, and in 2016 county children were four times as likely as South Los Angeles children to be enrolled in a private preschool.

–City News Service

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