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Los Angeles is the Most Unequal Place in California

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Los Angeles's healthiest and wealthiest neighborhoods are doing far far better than its least healthy and wealthy, according to a new report from the Social Science Research Council. A Portrait of California 2014-15 looks at life expectancies, incomes, and educational achievement for California's 10 most populous metro areas, mixing them all into something they call the Human Development Index. LA and the OC together fall just about in the middle of the pack, at number six overall and a bit above the national average (with a 5.44 out of 10), but that's because the area's split between two extremes. Los Angeles "has the largest gap in human development scores" of all the metros studied; "the highest neighborhood Index score, in Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach, and Hermosa Beach Cities, is four times that of the lowest, in South Central LA and Watts." South LA and Watts scored the lowest out of every neighborhood in California.

The top-scoring neighborhoods have unusually high educational achievement and earnings double the US average; meanwhile, "the residents of Los Angeles City Southeast/East Vernon, Los Angeles City South Central/Watts, and Huntington Park City, Florence-Graham, and Walnut Park have health, education, and earnings levels on par with or below the average for the United States in 1970," with wages far below the average American and Californian. The report says that "The level of income inequality in Los Angeles is the highest of all the California metro areas."

As LA Weekly points out, the gaps among racial groups are similarly vast: Asian Americans in LA scored a well above-average 7.29, while Latinos are down at just 4.11 and African-Americans at 4.68. Whites in Los Angeles make twice what Latinos do on average (African-Americans fall roughly in between). The life expectancy for Asian American babies born today in LA is 11.3 years longer than the life expectancy for African-American babies born today in LA.


· A Portrait of California 2014–2015 [Measure of America]
· Here Are the Most Likely Ways Every Person in LA Will Die [Curbed LA]
· Mapping Los Angeles's Crazy Uneven Access to Healthy Living [Curbed LA]
· Los Angeles is the Ninth Least Equal Place in the US [Curbed LA]