The Challenges and Opportunities of Demographic Change
By Gov. Jerry Brown
In past decades, baby boomers have posed multiple challenges to the state beginning with building classrooms and training enough teachers, to developing a higher education system that would accommodate the infusion of young adults, to growing the economy fast enough so they could find employment. Even now, baby boomers continue to reshape society as they begin to leave the labor force. In the next 15 years, well over 1,000 Californians will turn 65 each day.
California’s future generations will face a new set of challenges. While California’s baby boomers were considered culturally diverse and highly skilled compared to the rest of the nation, the next generation will be even more internationally and culturally complex, and will face employment in a technological future unimaginable in decades past.
Sustaining economic progress will require that all components of the workforce be prepared for the jobs that will drive California’s economic future.
There are over 10 million foreign-born residents living in California, representing over one-fourth of the nation’s total foreign-born population. Most are long settled in the state, with nearly three-quarters having arrived before 2000. Although historically the majority of California immigrants came from Mexico and Latin America, twice as many new arrivals came from Asian countries compared to Latin America in 2011. Throughout California’s history, immigrants have provided major contributions to the state’s labor force and fueled economic growth. Most immigrants arrive in California as young adults. While a significant proportion of the foreign born have a college degree, nearly half of the non-citizen foreign born have not completed high school.
Despite contributions of the foreign born to California’s economic growth, the foreign-born population represents a disproportionate share of those living in poverty. Two factors that contribute to the higher poverty for immigrants include the lack of ability to speak English and lower educational attainment. Poverty is not only an issue for the foreign born, but also for their native-born children. Nearly half of all children in California have at least one foreign-born parent and among those children, more than one-fourth live in poverty.
Governor’s Budget Summary, 2014-15
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