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USC Study Finds More Southern California Cities Racially Balanced

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A USC study released Thursday has found that more Southern California cities are on average more racially balanced than they were 20 years ago.

A combination of dwindling numbers of whites and blacks in the five-county region, plus a steady influx of Hispanics and Asian and Pacific Islanders has led to more cities becoming multiracial, especially in Orange and Riverside counties.

The total percentage of multiracial cities in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties grew to 61.5 percent in 2010, up from 51.2 percent in 1990.

The report, “Racially Balanced Cities in Southern California, 1999 to 2010,” was compiled by USC’s PopDynamics Research Group in the Sol Price School of Public Policy.

“Los Angeles is leading the nation once again in this multiracial experience,” said Dowell Myers, a USC professor of urban planning and demography and the study’s lead author. “Right now, we’re at a sweet spot for racial balance in Southern California. Decline in the white population and growth among Latinos or Asians only increases racial balance up to a point. Some cities have already started to lose their balance.”

Five cities in Los Angeles County — Azusa, Cerritos, Downey, Lawndale and Walnut — lost racial balance due to rising Latino and Asian populations.

Riverside County overtook San Bernardino County as having the highest percentage of multi-racial cities. Twenty-one of the 26 cities in Riverside County were defined as multiracial in 2010, according to the study.

For the first time in recent decades, San Bernardino County had three cities with significant populations of four racial groups represented — Highland, Loma Linda and Rancho Cucamonga.

At 53.4 percent, Los Angeles County had the lowest percentage of cities with a multiracial makeup. However, 10 of the 13 cities across the region deemed the most racially balanced were in L.A. County.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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