34 Million Sardines in a Can

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Is there anything more frustrating than sitting in rush hour traffic, day after day, knowing that it will never get better? How does standing in line at the grocery store, spending a full day at the crowded Department of Motor Vehicles, or having to squeeze into the packed elevator in a downtown high-rise sound? These are but a few minor, yet inconvenient, effects of the population explosion Californian’s face day after day. Our geographical space is not getting any larger, but the population is. The 2000 census showed California’s population increased by 13.6% over 1990 census figures to 33,871,648 people. California adds over 550,000 people annually, which is roughly equivalent to adding the entire population of the state of Vermont every year. Why is California so over-crowded, and what are the potential long-term effects of this overcrowding?

First of all, let’s look at some of the reasons why California is so overcrowded. Probably the biggest single reason people live in California is the weather. California is, meteorologically speaking, a very desirable place to live. There is a wide variety of weather from the snow-capped mountains of Northern California, to the valleys and deserts of Southern California. Between the two, there is the lush, rainy wine country of Sonoma County, the breezy coastal beach cities of Orange County, and the sweltering desert communities of San Diego and Riverside Counties. Together, these places offer atmospheric conditions for most everyone’s taste. Spend one winter in Minnesota and then try to come back and complain about how undesirable our weather is. There will not be much sympathy given by those around the country wishing they were here.

Other reasons people reside in California are the different forms of entertainment that are available. From skiing in the mountains to surfing at the beaches, there is always some form of physical activity in which to engage during most of the year. Other entertainment options...
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