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Thursday, Feb 22, 2024

New Study Reveals Sharp Contrasts in County Income and Quality of Life

A new study released Wednesday shows huge disparities in income and quality of life in L.A. County.

The report, part of the Measure of America series from the Social Science Research Council of Brooklyn, N.Y., combines health, education and earnings data into a single score on a 10-point scale across 106 cities and unincorporated areas as well as 35 community plan areas within the city of Los Angeles. It also breaks down the data by race and gender.

The report ranked San Marino as receiving the highest score in Los Angeles County, a 9.43 on the 10-point scale, followed by Manhattan Beach at 9.34 and Palos Verdes Estates at 9.30. The unincorporated community of Florence Graham between South L.A. and Huntington Park received the lowest score of 2.44, with East Rancho Dominguez at 2.59 and Lennox at 2.63 faring only slightly better.

L.A. County’s overall score was 5.43 out of 10, which was higher than the U.S. value of 5.17.

Within the city of Los Angeles, the Bel Air-Beverly Crest community plan area in the Santa Monica Mountains received the highest score of 9.51, while Southeast Los Angeles – stretching from just south of downtown to Watts – received the lowest score of 2.26.

“A Portrait of Los Angeles County is designed not only to measure well-being and reveal critical gaps in opportunity, but also to provide a base to inform future policies and programs and to assess progress moving forward,” said Sarah Burd-Sharps, co-director of Measure of America and co-author of the report, in a statement.

The report also looked at earnings data. The median personal earnings in L.A. County was $30,654, slightly less than the U.S. median of $31,416. Palos Verdes Estate had the highest median personal earnings of $82,813, while Westwood had the lowest at $16,044, thanks to the large UCLA student population there.

Whites earned the most, with median earnings of $47,600, with Asians next at $38,000. Latinos earned the least, with median earnings of $22,600. By gender, the report found men earned more than women across every racial and ethnic group, with white women earning $15,000 less per year than white males.

In other measures, the report ranked L.A. County’s education index score at 4.96 on the 10-point scale, slightly below the national average of 5.11, with one in five adult Angelenos lacking a high-school diploma. Additionally, average life expectancy in the county was 82.1 years, nearly three years longer than the national average and on a par with France and Israel.

Economy, education, energy and transportation reporter Howard Fine can be reached at hfine@labusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @howardafine.

Howard Fine
Howard Fine
Howard Fine is a 23-year veteran of the Los Angeles Business Journal. He covers stories pertaining to healthcare, biomedicine, energy, engineering, construction, and infrastructure. He has won several awards, including Best Body of Work for a single reporter from the Alliance of Area Business Publishers and Distinguished Journalist of the Year from the Society of Professional Journalists.

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