Column: Representation matters. But a Mayor Karen Bass means more for Black women in L.A. than any of the Councilmembers.
City and county records show that the city’s African-American population has decreased by more than 15,000 since 1997, and that the population of the African-American minority has become a shrinking percentage of the residents of L.A. County.
Los Angeles and much of the rest of the nation are experiencing the effects of an ongoing phenomenon called “the decline of the Black middle class,” according to a new report by the Public Policy Institute of California, a leading free-market think tank.
The report, “The Decline of the Black Middle Class,” focuses on a demographic snapshot of American neighborhoods that reveals dramatic declines in the percentage of African-American residents within the city of Los Angeles. The report also finds that the population of the African-American minority has become a shrinking percentage of the residents of L.A. County, with the loss of as many as 900,000 African-American residents in the city of Los Angeles alone.
The decline of the black middle class in the U.S. has been long anticipated by many observers, but it is often described as something unique to the African-American middle class and to the African-American middle class that was growing so rapidly in the 1980s and in the 1990s.
To be sure, some of the causes of the decline of the black middle class have been well documented, including the increasing concentration of African-American children in failing public schools, low unemployment among African-American residents, and high poverty rates among African-American households. But the decline of the black middle class as a whole cannot simply be explained by such factors because the decline of the African-American middle class is occurring nationwide.
Yet the decline of the black middle class is in some ways unprecedented, since in previous generations, African-