Home Sales Bridge California’s Cultural Divide

The conventional wisdom in California is that older, white voters won't support education and robust public services because they don't see themselves in California's younger, largely Latino generations.

I just finished reading a new examination of Census data on housing from USC demographer Dowell Myers that turns the conventional wisdom on its head.

Myers sees a growing partnership between older California whites and younger Latinos over home ownership.

Older whites need to sell, but there are not younger, white homeowners to buy homes.

So older whites have a huge interest in investing in the education of the younger generations, even if those generations do not look like them.

Myers writes: "Aging white homeowners and young Latinos share a common interest.

"While some have pointed to a growing divide between ethnic groups and generations, the new evidence suggests a growing partnership through homeownership, a willing exchange between sellers and buyers."

While white home ownership declined, Myers notes, the number of "Latino homeowners increased by 383,778 over the decade, accounting for 78.5% of California’s total growth in homeownership.

"It is young Latino home buyers, and also Asians, who have taken up the slack from diminished white demand.

"Latinos contributed 32.4% of the new homeowners at young ages during the 2000s, and they have potential to do much more.

The clear challenge for the future will be how to pick up the growing slack from the increased sell-off of older homeowners. 'Who is going to buy your house?' has become an important question for all of us."

Can this mutual self-interest between older whites and younger Latinos provide for the basis for a new California politics?

Contact Us