It All Depends on Your Point of View

Today, both the Los Angeles Times and the Daily News (once known as the “Valley Green Sheet”) are reporting on the census recently released of the San Fernando Valley. The difference in perspective is interesting.

The Los Angeles Times headline screams: “Findings show residents make more, spend more on housing and endure longer commutes than most.” Just the thing that would make the San Fernando Valley, a major source of tax revenue for the city, seem a desirable place to live. Could it be that if more folks had pride in the valley, secession efforts from the city might actually succeed, and the city wouldn’t be able to bleed the valley dry? Nah.

The Daily News, on the other hand, is the typical valley booster: “”America’s suburb” is as economically vibrant and ethnically diverse as the heart of Los Angeles”. “The average Valley family is older, better educated and earns nearly $12,000 more annually than a family in another part of Los Angeles” Boy, that makes me want to live there.

By the way, this isn’t the first time there’s been such a variety of headlines. With the recent UCLA whomping of USC (woo hoo!), there was another, as noted by the Native Intelligence blog. The morning after the UCLA victory, the LA Times had a headline of “This USC story ends without a title.” UCLA’s victory isn’t even mentioned until the fourth paragraph of the story. The Daily News? “Bruined” with a big picture of UCLA trouncing Troy’s ass, and a subhead, below the fold, of “UCLA denies Trojans title game.” As the blog said: “It doesn’t take an advisory panel to figure out which front page is going to end up in more scrapbooks and picture frames for years to come.” Again, this is an example of the Times supporting downtown and the money, and the Daily News supporting the Valley and the Westside.

So, what else did this census report say about the valley?

  • The typical mortgage in the Valley hovers in the $2,000-a-month range, about even with the rest of the city. That mortgage is likely to account for about 35% of a household’s income in both the Valley and the remainder of Los Angeles.
  • 13% of Valley residents earned wages below the federal poverty level last year, compared with 20% citywide.
  • Nearly 42% of Valley residents are foreign-born, compared with 41.2% of city residents.
  • A language other than English is spoken in 59% of Valley homes. That’s the case in about 61% of all Los Angeles city homes.
  • More than 72,000 households have incomes under $15,000.
  • Of the Valley’s foreign-born residents, 264,000 were from Asian countries and 374,000 from Latin American countries.
  • The median home price in the region was found to be $524,800, higher than that in the city, county and state.
  • The median household income in the Valley was estimated at $51,700, compared with $53,600 statewide and $46,200 nationwide.
  • Valley residents spent an average of 29 minutes commuting to work, compared with a statewide average of 27 minutes and a national average of 25 minutes.
  • More than 107,000 residents have graduate or professional degrees and an additional 227,000 have bachelor’s degrees.

The Daily News article tended to compare the results with Los Angeles. The LA Times article compared the results with California and the rest of the Nation, not the rest of Los Angeles. Hmmmm…. The full details of the census are available on Congressman Brad Sherman’s website (and we should congratulate Brad… he just got married).