Southern California is Stronger and Safer Because of Latinos, Study Says

Los Angeles, California.

Los Angeles, California.  (AP)

Southern California has lower joblessness, better property values, and less crime than it did 50 years ago in part because of the large influx of Latino and Asian immigrants, according to a study to be released next week by  the University of California, Irvine.

The Southern California area has seen a major hike in its Latino population from just 8.5 percent in 1960 to 80 percent in 2007, according to the one-year study, the change in demographics led to several beneficial associations between an increase in immigration to Southern California and a better lifestyle in those communities.  

The five counties included in the study, Southern California Regional Progress Report, were Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura.

Neighborhoods in Southern California with 10 percent more Latinos than surrounding areas at the beginning of the 2000s experienced a 1.3 percent greater increase in home values over the decade. Also, ethnically diverse neighborhoods are more likely to have higher property values than homogenous neighborhoods.

The $150,000 study, funded by Fivepoint Communities inc, a joint venture company, also found a link between the revival of downtown Los Angeles and the demographic change in its’ diverse neighborhoods.

Violent crime for Downtown L.A., which was 350 percent higher than the region average in 1990, fell to just 67 percent above the average in 2010. Rates also fell from the northeast of the San Fernando Valley, Hollywood Hills, Westside, Westwood, and Beverly Hills during the same time period.

"A number of findings took us by surprise," said John Hipp, the associate professor of criminology, law and society who led the team of researchers.

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