The foreign-born population of Los Angeles County peaked in 2007 and has declined since then as a result of a dragging economy that is no longer a magnet for global job-seekers, according to a report by USC's Population Dynamics Research Group.
In fact, statewide, the immigrant population also hit its high point in 2007 (27.4 percent) and declined in 2010 (26.6 percent). In 2007, about 36 percent of L.A.'s population was born outside the United States. That number has declined 1.2 percentage points since then, according to the group's report. The academics' analysis suggests that the Golden State get over its fixation on immigration as a major political issue:
"Perhaps the wake-up message will come from the surprise news that the foreign-born
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population has leveled off, that immigration is no longer accelerating and threatening to
fill up the state," write the report's authors
California's Republican gubernatorial candidates have invested much of their paid television spots in illegal immigration, with candidates Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner trying to prove how tough they would be on the issue. But the authors argue that, " ... with immigration abating, fears should subside, and cooler heads can plan how best to build a better California."
The big news, according to the report, is that " ... in the last decade, homegrown residents have surpassed migrants and immigrants to become a majority of the California population for the first time since before the Gold Rush."