With rents soaring and incomes falling, Southern Californians are crowding into apartments, and Los Angeles is now home to some of the most crowded zip codes in the US, according to the LA Times: "Places such as Maywood and Huntington Park ... look little like the high-rises of Chicago or Boston. Yet behind the closed doors of small bungalows or squat apartment buildings, they are home to thousands more people per square mile than those large cities." The most crowded zip code in the country? That would be 90011—the zip code for the area around Historic South-Central—where 42.2 percent of the households are technically "crowded" (meaning that there is more than one person per room per household), and one out of every six homes have more than two people per room. (Kitchens, bedrooms, and living rooms are all included in room totals, but bathrooms and outdoor spaces were excluded; the numbers were then adjusted based on how much they differed from the national average.)
LA has a major shortage in housing, particularly the variety that's affordable to average workers; rents rose more than 20 percent between 1990 and 2009 while renter income fell 6 percent. Studies have shown that kids in crowded homes "have poorer health, worse scores on math and reading tests and more behavioral and emotional problems — such as tantrums and depression — even when poverty is taken into account."
Historic South-Central was number one, but the margins were very narrow:
- Historic South-Central (90011): 42.2 percent (most crowded in the US)
- Pico-Union (90006): 42.6 percent (second most crowded in the US)
- Huntington Park (90255): 40.2 percent (number three most crowded in the US)
- Westlake near Lafayette Park (90057): 39.9 percent
- Boyle Heights/east East LA (90023) : 39.5 percent
More than half of the top one percent of crowded housing tracts in the nation are in LA and Orange counties (LA County has the majority); you can check it out on the LAT's interactive map.
· L.A. and Orange counties are an epicenter of overcrowded housing [LAT]