Atlas of California Mapping the Challenge of a New Era

ISBN-10: 0520272021

ISBN-13: 9780520272026

Edition: 2013

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California is at a crossroads. For decades a global leader, inspiring the hopes and dreams of millions, the state has recently faced double-digit unemployment, multi-billion dollar budget deficits and the loss of trillions in home values. This atlas brings together the latest research and statistics in a graphic form that gives shape and meaning to these numbers. It shows a new California in the making, as it maps the economic, social, and political trends of a state struggling to maintain its leadership and to continue to offer its citizens the promise of prosperity.Among the world's largest economies, California is the nation's agricultural powerhouse, high tech crucible and leader in renewable energy. The state is the most populous and most diverse state in the continental U.S. Yet its infrastructure is coming under increasing pressure. Water supply systems are strained, the legendary highways are over capacity, and the celebrated system of public schooling is unable to offer affordable quality education at all levels. Health and welfare services, particularly for the poor, needy, disabled, and seniors, are at great risk.This indispensable resource gives readers the tools they need to understand the transformation as California attempts to forge a new identity in the midst of unprecedented challenges.
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Book details

List price: $24.95
Copyright year: 2013
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 10/4/2013
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 128
Size: 7.75" wide x 9.88" long x 0.25" tall
Weight: 0.792
Language: English

Photo Credits
Land & People
Land & Nature
California's geography sets it apart from the rest of North America. Its natural blessings have been a source of wonder and wealth, its frequent earthquakes a challenge.
Public Lands & Parks
Half of California's land is in public ownership, and much of that is protected in the most extensive system of national, state, and local parks in the United States.
Colonialism & Native Californians
California was part of the Spanish Empire, then Mexico, before being annexed to the United States. Native peoples were annihilated by Spaniards, Mexicans, and Americans alike, through forced removal, slave labor, disease and massacres, and are still struggling to regain their rightful place in state life.
California is the most populous state in the United States and for decades was among the fastest growing, due to high immigration and birth rates.
For centuries, California has been a magnet for migrants, both domestic and foreign. They have come from many places in search of a better life, escaping poverty, war, famine, and persecution-but often facing hostility on arrival.
Unauthorized Immigration
California has the highest number of unauthorized immigrants of any state. Although their presence is controversial, several industries depend on them to fill low-wage, low-skill jobs.
Politics, Governance, & Power
Government & Politics
Democracy in California has long suffered from unequal representation, a weak party system, and the power of money in elections. But voting patterns are solidly Democratic have become more so in recent elections.
Budget & Taxation
California has the largest budget after the federal government but has suffered budget shortfalls, revenue volatility, and reduced taxation, resulting in huge cuts during the recession and making planning difficult.
Government Finances
Tax revenues constitute roughly half of the general revenue of California state and local governments. Two-thirds of expenditure goes to education, health, welfare, and safety.
Military Power
California is the most militarized of states. It has been a strategic intellectual and technological center for the military, and served as the Pacific base of operations in several major wars.
Crime & Incarceration
California's prison population and funding for corrections have soared in the last 30 years, even though violent crime rates have dropped. The US Supreme Court has ordered a reduction in the state's prison population to reduce overcrowding.
Economy & Industry
Economic Growth
California's economic growth has long outpaced the rest of the country. With its vibrant and diverse industrial tapestry, it is a model of economic innovation and prosperity.
California's prosperity has been built on its workforce, both in numbers and quality. Labor demand and supply, skills, and wages have long exceeded the national average, feeding the state's remarkable growth.
Business & Finance
California is home not only to globestraddling corporations with large management teams, but also to thriving small businesses and start-ups. It has long been the second-largest center of finance in the country.
California's agribusiness is one of the agricultural wonders of the world, leading the country in the variety and quantity of output, and setting the pace for modern farming and food production in the United States.
California is known around the world as a leader in technology and innovation. It has offered highly favorable conditions for innovators to flourish and put new ideas into play.
Urban Areas
Cities & Metro Areas
California is highly urban, and the state's cities and metro areas are among the nation's largest, densest, and most economically significant.
The Bay Area
San Francisco has long been world famous but is today pan of a large, complex urban region: the Bay Area-high-tech capital of the world and richest big city in the country.
Greater Los Angeles
Los Angeles is California's largest city and the country's second largest metropolis. It is popularly known for its remarkable growth, sprawling landscape, and mixture of peoples, but is equally a manufacturing and transportation powerhouse.
Real Estate
California runs on real-estate development. The scale of building is huge and property values high. After the greatest real-estate bubble in history in the 2000s, the state suffered a devastating crash.
Highways & Transportation
California has one of the most advanced transportation systems in the world, including highways, airports, seaports, and railroads. The challenges of city committing are great, as are those of handling an immense flow of goods, within and beyond state borders.
Water & Energy
Water Supply
Northern California has abundant rainfall and the Sierra a large snowpack; excess runoff is stored and moved south to supply agriculture and cities in the southern half of the state.
Water Use
Water use exceeds natural supply in many parts of California, especially in drought years. Water conservation has checked the growth of consumption, and it must continue.
Energy: Fossil Fuels
California has one of the lowest rates of energy consumption in the United States. Fossil fuels, mostly foreign and domestic imports, dominate energy supply, despite efforts to develop alternative sources.
Energy: Electricity
Total electricity demand has been rising in California due to overall growth plus inland migration. Yet higher prices, government policies, and technical change have kept per capita electricity consumption flat over the last two decades.
Renewable Energy
California is a leading producer of renewable energy, but the goal of significantly increasing the share of electricity generated by renewables faces many obstacles.
Climate Change
Global climate change is being felt in California in the form of rising average temperatures and sea level, weather extremes, and more wildfires. The implications for water supply, flooding, and ecosystems are potentially grave.
Carbon Emissions
California is a national leader in reducing carbon emissions through transportation planning, industrial controls, and the use of renewable energy, making it one of the lowest emitters per capita of greenhouse gases in the United States.
Air Pollution
Although California has made dramatic progress in reducing air pollution, a majority of the population continues to breathe air that poses significant health risks.
Water Pollution
California's surface, ground, and coastal waters suffer serious contamination from farms, cities, and industry, jeopardizing health, recreation, and wildlife. Toxic chemicals pose risks to the public and the environment.
Health & Education
Healthcare: Quality & Outcomes
Good health depends greatly on access to and quality of healthcare, on health behaviors, socioeconomic conditions, and physical environment, which vary widely across California and create persistent disparities between places and racial/ethnic groups.
Healthcare: Cost & Access
Healthcare costs have been rising rapidly, burdening families, employers, and governments. Yet California ranks towards the bottom in per capita health spending, as well as in state Medicaid support, employer-based coverage, and percentage of uninsured.
Pre-K Education
Despite its leadership in introducing a variety of early childhood education and support programs, California provides preschool access to only half of its three and four year olds, and quality access to even fewer.
K-12 Education
California's once-heralded K-12 public education system today ranks near the bottom in student achievement, graduation rates, student-teacher ratio, and per-pupil funding. Greatly increased investment and commitment are needed to put public schooling back on a sound footing.
Higher Education
California's public universities, vital engines of economic and civic life, are in danger of failing to provide affordable access to quality higher education. Can California rediscover its former commitment to public higher education?
Inequality & Social Divides
Income, Wealth, & Poverty
Income and wealth inequality have grown significantly in the last 30 years, fueled by stagnant wages, rising assets values and corporate pay, as well as federal tax relief for the rich. Poverty is rampant in California despite its wealth and prosperity.
Hunger & Homelessness
Millions of Californians go hungry every day and tens of thousands are homeless. This is one of the worst records in the nation. Government food assistance programs that help mitigate hunger need to be strengthened. Homeless people have little institutional support and often face hostility.
Race & Ethnicity
California enjoys a rich mix of people of different races and national origins, just one of four states where minorities are the majority. Yet the participation of people of color in politics and business is much less than that of Whites, and almost all suffer disproportionately from low incomes, poor health, and less education.
Gender & Sexual Orientation
California's record of gender equity is good in education, moderate in wages and political representation, and poor in business. The state has been a pioneer in the struggle for gay rights, but has suffered setbacks on the question of equal rights to marriage.
Youth & Old Age
California's young and old suffer disproportionately from deprivation, and many are ineligible for government benefits because of inadequate measures of cost of living and need.
Challenges Ahead: A Glimpse into the Future
California's glory resides in its prosperity but, in the face of multiple challenges, it needs to forge a new identity.
Data Challenges
Data must be selected and interpreted with caution because of the challenges presented by inconsistency, omissions, imperfections, and underlying assumptions.
Definition of Key Terms
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