Among the six counties, Riverside is reported to be in line for the highest percentage growth, 104.5%, to 2.81 million people, between 1994 and 2020. In sheer numbers, Los Angeles County is forecast to grow the most, seeing its population rise by 3.01 million, or 32.6%, to a total of 12.24 million. The report expects Orange County in 2020 to have 3.24 million people, up 25%; San Bernardino County, 2.83 million, up 81.5%; Ventura County, 932,300, up 31%; and Imperial County, 280,000, up 102%.
The forecast for Riverside County did not surprise Ted Rozzi, director of facilities for the Corona-Norco Unified School District. "It's going to be a challenge, to say the least, but it's something we will have to take care of," said Rozzi, who is in charge of building campuses to accommodate the boom.
Over the next five years, his district is expected to see enrollment rise 8,000 from the current 32,000. And much more is ahead since area developers have permits for at least 10,000 new houses and have their eyes on other open lands, Rozzi said. Voters recently approved a $65-million school construction bond issue to supplement state and other funds.
Water needs can be met through a combination of extra flow from the Colorado River and other sources, new storage facilities and conservation, suggest officials of the Metropolitan Water District, which serves wide swaths of the region. However, household rates probably will increase to pay for the extra pipelines and reservoirs, such as the enormous $2-billion Eastside Reservoir under construction in the Hemet area.
"The good news is that there will be 6.5 million more people to contribute to solutions with water rates," said Ed Means, MWD deputy general manager. Although assuring availability of the additional water will not be easy, he expressed confidence that it can be done.
Prospects for new jobs look fine except for their locations, according to the report. The region is expected to see total jobs rise by 3.9 million, or 60%. However, the South Bay, Westside, Glendale, Burbank and Orange County are forecast to add many more jobs than residents, creating more commuter problems.
As has been traditional in California, unincorporated areas are poised for a very large proportion of new housing. And that might, in turn, trigger new efforts to form cities by residents fearful about uncontrolled growth, experts say.
Southern Californians could face a real decline in the quality of life unless local and state governments discourage sprawl and encourage more access to mass transit, contended Steve Sanders, director of the California Futures Network, a group that is working against uncontrolled sprawl.
"I am fearful if we don't change our assumptions about how people are housed and how and where they work and how they get around," he said.
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By 2020, Southern California will absorb a population increase equivalent of two Chicagos, with the most dramatic rise, 169%, in northern Los Angeles County, according to data from the Southern California Assn. of Governments. Western Riverside County areas such as Moreno Valley and Hemet will also be boomtowns. The already densely populated city of Los Angeles will have 4.89 million residents, a 34% rise.
RIVERSIDE COUNTY: 105%
IMPERIAL COUNTY: 102%
SAN BERNAR. COUNTY: 82%
L.A. COUNTY: 33%
VENTURA COUNTY: 31%
ORANGE COUNTY: 25%
Growth from 1994 to 2020
(1) North L.A. County: 169%
(2) Malibu-Agoura Hills area: 44%
(3) City of Los Angeles: 34%
(4) Glendale-Burbank area: 27%
(5) San Gabriel Valley: 22%
(6) Southeast L.A. County: 19%
(7) South Bay: 13%
(8) Westside: 11%
People per sq. mi.:
City of L.A. in 2020: 10,421
London '97: 10,456
Tokyo '97: 36,607
\o7 Sources: Southern California Assn. of Governments; "California Cities, Towns and Counties, 1998"; World Book Encyclopedia\f7
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Growth in population in key Southland areas:
1994 2020 L.A. 9,231,600 12,249,100 Orange 2,595,300 3,244,600 Ventura 709,900 932,300 Riverside 1,376,900 2,816,000 San Bern. 1,558,600 2,830,000 Imperial 138,400 280,000
1994 2020 N. L.A. County 451,000 1,213,400 City of L.A. 3,656,700 4,890,900 Malibu/Agoura Hills 75,300 108,300 Westside 227,000 253,000 South Bay 819,000 925,600 S.E. L.A. 1,982,100 2,368,600 Glendale/Burbank 538,000 684,100 San Gab. Valley 1,482,000 1,805,700
\o7 Source: Southern California Assn. of Governments\f7