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With skyrocketing rents and plunging incomes, Southern Californians have little choice but to crowd into apartments and houses. Los Angeles and Orange counties are home to more than half of the country’s most crowded neighborhoods, says the Los Angeles Times.
From the outside looking in, it is a largely invisible phenomenon. Places such as Maywood and Huntington Park, south of Los Angeles, look little like the high-rises of Chicago or Boston. Yet behind the closed doors of small bungalows or squat apartment buildings, they are home to thousands more people per square mile than those large cities.
The Times analyzed federal statistics to rank the country’s top 1 percent of crowded homes. It found the following:
- 1 in 10 homes is crowded in Los Angeles and Orange counties, compared with 3 percent nationally. “Crowded” means housing more than one person per room.
- 42 percent of the homes in southeast LA’s 90011 ZIP code are crowded, making it the most jampacked neighborhood in the country.
- Southern California is the epicenter for crowded housing, with Los Angeles and Orange counties holding more than half of the country’s most heavily crowded census tracts.
It’s an epidemic of sorts that the Times says has far-reaching implications.
UCLA and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers have found that children in crowded homes have poorer health, worse scores on math and reading tests and more behavioral and emotional problems — such as tantrums and depression — even when poverty is taken into account.
Think your neighborhood is overcrowded? Click on the Times’ interactive map here to see where the country’s top 1 percent of crowded homes are located.