Census Reports Population Drop on LA's Eastside, Triggering Fear of an Undercount

Genius Turner

LA's Eastside finds itself at the center of a hot button issue.(JulieAndSteve/Wikimedia Commons)

Some officials fear an undercount of the latest census figures

LOS ANGELES — Every 4 years at the Olympics, world-class athletes strive to prove the only thing stronger than fear is hope. Every 10 years, Los Angeles councilmembers similarly hope the U.S. Census accurately reflects their region's population.


Quite simply: the more residents listed in a given area, the more resources the government distributes. Or to put it in even simpler terms — "the more, the merrier."

According to the latest census figures, LA's Eastside recorded a declining population. Just to the west of downtown, however, the west San Fernando Valley is experiencing the opposite: a population boom.

The latest results have far-reaching implications, particularly for residents of the primarily Latino Eastside. Whispers of "undercount" can be heard around the city. As reporter David Zahniser puts it:

So, if there's not an accurate count, there's an undercount, then areas don't get the resources they should that they deserve under a sort of equal representation. And what happened with Los Angeles is the numbers came in and what they found was that there were several neighborhoods on the Eastside, El Sereno, Boyle Heights, etc., that had decreased.

In the nearby West Valley, the region's two councilmembers have already added roughly 30,000 people. When it comes to drawing up maps for the City Council’s 15 districts, remember, as far as district population and governmental resources go: the more, the merrier.

David Ely, a demographic consultant with the Redistricting Commission, went so far as to have called the latest news an alarming case of “our worst fears have been realized, in a sense, with a poor-quality count primarily in Latino-majority areas in the Eastside of the city,”

City Council has until the end of the year to vote on the maps with new boundaries — set to take effect on New Year's Day.

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