34 Million Sardines in a Can
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 story, spending a full day at the DMV, 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 we Californian’s are facing. Our geographical space is not getting any larger, but our 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 populated 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 single biggest 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. I know from personal experience that winters in the Midwest are brutal. While some people may go to Florida to escape the heat, others may find it too humid. California offers the perfect balance between climates and that adds to the overall appeal of the state. 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. A lot of these activities like surfing can only be done in certain areas of the country making California that much more desirable. Other entertainment options include a wide variety of amusement parks, sporting events, the television and the motion picture industry, museums, fine dining establishments, and more shopping venues than could be visited in a year. These events might seem like a luxury to some, or perhaps a “must do” to others, but either way, they are definitely a magnet to those who do not consider themselves a “couch potato.” Our strong job market has been the “dangling carrot” for many over the years. The aerospace boom of the 1990’s, for example, saw thousands of jobs created when large government contracts were signed. If California were a nation all to itself, it would boast the 6th largest economy in the world. Unfortunately, this strong job market has bolstered the problem of illegal immigration. Refugees from neighboring countries enter the United States illegally with the hope of finding work and being able to send money back to their families in their home country. This illegal border crossing is exacerbated by California’s liberal immigration policy. Governor Gray Davis and other state officials have increased the number of immigrants it will let in on student and work visas. Statistics from the Census Bureau show many of these people stay in the state illegally after the expiration of their respective visas. If the immigrant has a child, who is born on U.S. soil, the child is automatically a U.S. citizen, thus making it very easy for the parents to qualify for citizenship. That’s not saying that immigration is bad, it just increases the population even more. A...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document