Alex NguyenAli M. MeghdadiEnglish 39C/ Section 33321January 23, 2015Contradictory of UrbanizationUrbanization, the result of the Industrial Revolution, transitioned America from a place of farming into factory. Towns and cities grew larger as more people migrated in hopes of employment opportunities because cities offered opportunity for people living in the countryside. The cities acted as a beacon for those who live in rural areas due to the fact that cities represented a higher standard of living. The urbanizing of Los Angeles brought the idea of job opportunities but in reality more people are unemployed. The transitioning has caused immigrants and Americans to suffer. The transition led to an increase in population leading to people competing for limited resources that increased unemployment leading to major problems such as overcrowding, poverty, rent control, and high crime rates. Before urbanization, unemployment has not been recognized as a problem in rural area. This is because they had everyone they needed and made use of who they have, in order to sustain a decent lifestyle. Los Angeles is now the most urbanized city in America. It also has the highest unemployment rate and living cost. With the high unemployment and high living cost, it is known as the City in decline (Black). The number of jobs opportunities has declined since the 1990s. In figure 1, 1990 was the start of an increased in unemployment. Figure 1 The increase in unemployment was due to the fact that Los Angeles added a million residents between 1980 and 2010; however, during that same time, the city lost 165,000 jobs (Black). The loss of jobs and the influx of immigrants caused unemployment to increase drastically as you can see in figure 1 during the year 1990. In 1991 and 1992 as unemployment rate rose, there was a correlation in deaths and unemployment. 3,200 people were murdered in South Central Los Angeles, most were African American. This was because unemployment rates were high especially for African American. A high of 25 percent of young African American were unemployed (Side). The unemployment of young African American resulted in drug addiction, alcoholism, and gang violence. Eventually, tension between the suffering African American and the Caucasian white worsen as opportunities dismissed towards blacks. It greatly resulted in The Rodney King Riot. It was one of the major riots seen in the America since the 1960s and had the worst death statistics. Over 50 people died and more than 2,000 injured because of these riots (Los Angeles). The riots forced the community leaders to offer proposals to improve the chronic problems of unemployment and poverty (Side).
Figure 2In figure 2, there was a decrease in poverty rate from 2000 to 2007; the people who are employed low paying jobs are not changing. The decrease in poverty was due to the fact that people were settling in and because of the decline in immigrants moving in to Los Angeles. Decrease in poverty rates does not mean increase in household income (Connell). Los Angeles Times Writer Rich Connell illustrates the lifestyle of Brigitte Erickson in order to represents the economic turnover in 2008. Erickson lived a comfortable lifestyle; she goes out to eat, has a nice apartment, and enjoys other entertainment. However, in 2008 a big rent increase forced Erickson to move out of her Arcadia apartment, and the rising cost of gas and other consumer goods impelled her to go out less often (Connell). As you notice in figure 2, you can see there is a slight increase in poverty rates in 2008 but that slight increase made Erickson lose her home. Despite the decrease in poverty rates in figure 2, the number of workers in Los Angeles County who earn less than $25,000, 30% of the full-time workforce, has dropped only slightly from 2006 (Connell).This tells me that poverty rate is not proportional to income rates. As poverty increased so does living expenses, citizens need multiple jobs and support of families to survive (Black). Andres Cruz used to be working 50 hours per week at 12 dollars an hour. On top of that, he sells popsicles in the park to make a living. However, he got laid off and now has to compete with others selling popsicles, making 40 dollars on a good a day. His second job maintaining a coin laundry mat at 8 dollars an hour is what he does to get by. He is working a lot more but making a lot less (Cornell). These are significant problems that can arise from unemployment and job loss. Employment does not mean that there will be less poverty, especially with the increased in cost of living.
Figure 3In figure 3, it tells us that rent in Los Angles and America has increased almost twice the percentage. In Los Angeles, the rent burden was 30 percent and now in 2009-2011, rent burden has increased to 60 percent. This is significant to not only Los Angles but America as well. Americas rent burden has doubles. The drastic increased in rent is due the competition of housing. Los Angeles rent control prevents the financial incentive of building more apartments leading to high competition for these apartments. The high competition for apartment raises the price of the apartment. Rent control is a law that limits the amount a landlord can raise rent. Although that sounds beneficial towards the citizens, it does not keep rent cost low. Rent has raised 25 percent between the year 2000 and 2012 in Los Angeles (LA Rent). The competition will drive the prices up, creates risks of growth in homelessness and overpopulation. A person living in rent controlled units pay an average of $1612 a month (LA Rent). That is 19,344 dollars a year solely for rent. 30 percent of the population in Los Angeles makes less than 25,000 dollars a year (Connell). Not only that rent control cannot keep rent low but it also discourages land owners from building more apartments. This is because rent control is only applied to apartments made before 1978 and that is 80 percent of all apartments. Landowners do not invest in building more apartments because that will not be financially incentive. Because of urbanization, millions of immigrants will come to America and compete for resources such as jobs. Cheaper labor will make it more difficult for future Americans to get a job.
Figure 4 Figure 5
Figure 5 illustrates the migration of Immigrants from Mexico, El Salvador, Philippines, Guatemala, and Korea to America, specifically Los Angeles to seek employment and have a higher standard of living. In figure 4, it tells you that immigrants make up 35 percent of the total population in Los Angeles as of 2010. That is a 10 percent increased ever since 1980. This increased in immigrants and constant amount of housing in Los Angeles will not provide enough homes. Immigrants will have to live in the slums or become homeless or move elsewhere. The amount of immigrants that move elsewhere will compete with the resources that are available. Going back to figure 3, the migration of immigrants to other parts of America will only increase in housing and increase in competition for jobs. This will affect the opportunities for future kids and adults. . Figure 6According to figure 6, 58,423 people are homeless. This is data gotten from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authorities. That is an increase of fifteen percent from two years earlier or 8,000 people (Holland). There are more homeless citizens due to failure to meet financial needs such as buying food to feed oneself and ones family, paying ones bills such as rent. Financial insecurity and lack of meaningful goals lead to increase in stress which correlates to mental stability. Individuals experiencing stress will develop harmful emotions such as anger. This could lead to irrational actions. However, these rare irrational traumatic attacks could be from a different reason. Majority of homeless are veterans from war who have post-traumatic stress disorder. Just because there are some homeless with mental disorder, society has biased notions about all homeless people.There is not enough help towards the homeless. One possible explanation is because of a predisposition towards homeless. People associate the notion of homelessness with the beliefs of laziness and hostility. Majority of American would think it is their fault for being poor and because they were not resilient enough to get out of their own situation, it is their fault. Just because people worked hard, overcome struggles, and benefit from it does not mean that those who are homeless did not work hard. It does not mean that they were lazy and did not overcome struggles. There are people in society that do not realize that these poor people are just like us and everyone else in the world but just born in different environment or because of tragic events that happened. If the community is more aware of the cause of their lack of a job, education, or home, people might be more willing to lend a hand and help instead of having these preconceived biased notions of homelessness. Another presumption people have is that homeless people is something to be weary of and that the homeless should stay away from non-homeless which encompasses the rest of the world. Hailey Yook, a student at University of California Berkeley, noticed the reaction of other students around a homeless person. A homeless person is common around Berkeley; you would see around five to fifteen homeless men and women with their belongings while walking to class. Students would walk by homeless people as if they were part of the background or even move away like they had a horrible disease. Imagine a situation where homeless men or women dressed in dirty apparels with their cart of belongings walked down ring road and sat on the same bench as you. You would probably move away and if you had friends, they would move too. This is what happened to Yook at UC Berkeley: A woman who appeared to be homeless sat down on a nearby bench with her cart of belongings. Almost every student she sat by got up and moved to another spot farther away from her, as if she had terribly wronged them in some way (Yook). People fear homeless off the presumptions that they are beggars, addicts, mentally ill or violent (Yook). These presumptions are because of an illusion that people with homes are better than homeless people. By far that notion is because of unfamiliarity and because of that unfamiliarity; homelessness is harder to overcome.
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