RB_605MBRB - JUNE 2005 Research Brief Public Policy...

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Getting to 2025: Can California Meet the Challenges? There is a growing consensus in some quarters that rapid population growth and repeated budget shortfalls have brought California to a state of disrepair that bodes ill for the Golden State. Two years ago, with support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, PPIC undertook a large, multidisciplinary research study to consider whether the state is facing a growth and infrastructure crisis, the dimensions of the potential problem, and how best to think about planning for the future. It focused on three elements of infrastruc- ture—schools, water systems, and roads and transportation systems. These are the areas in which California undertook the large public projects of the mid-20th century, and they continue to dominate public investment today. The study’s findings are reported in California 2025: Taking on the Future , a multi-authored volume edited by Ellen Hanak and Mark Baldassare. Some of the findings support those with serious con- cerns about the state’s future. However, the report also points to signs of progress in planning for and funding infrastruc- ture, as well as population and economic trends, that will ease growth in demand for public facilities. Nevertheless, California faces the future without a clear mandate on how much or how to raise funds to accommodate predicted pop- ulation growth. Also important is a “human infrastructure” challenge—a growing need for college-educated workers in the state’s changing economy and a likely shortfall in highly educated adults in the fastest-growing population groups. The report looks at the following critical topics. Population and Economic Growth A study led by Hans P. Johnson projects a population growth range of 7 million to 11 million between now and 2025, with a higher percentage of growth inland than in coastal areas. This uneven growth could be problematical because infrastructure systems in some inland areas are nonexistent or much less developed. The state will also con- tinue its transition from a white majority to a majority- minority state. Latinos are projected to become the largest racial/ethnic group in the state within a decade and will eventually reach majority status. The population will also continue to age: By 2025, one in seven Californians will be over age 65. These demographic shifts raise special concerns about how prepared the state is to provide economic and other opportunities for nonwhite and immigrant populations. Young Latinos have lower levels of schooling than the white, baby-boom population that makes up a large share of the college-educated workforce. Thus, how will they fare in the future labor market? Research Brief
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This note was uploaded on 09/22/2009 for the course ESP 171 taught by Professor Johnston during the Spring '08 term at UC Davis.

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RB_605MBRB - JUNE 2005 Research Brief Public Policy...

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