Californians’ per capita income will drop 11 percent over the first two decades of this century unless the state closes the educational gap of its expanding Latino population, a nonpartisan research center forecast in a report released today.
Latinos are the fastest-growing segment of the state’s population and work force, and among the least-educated, said the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education.
According to 2000 census figures, in the 25-to-64 age group, 52 percent of Latinos lacked a high school diploma, compared with 8 percent of non-Latino whites, and 12 percent of Latinos had a college degree, compared with 46 percent of whites.
If those rates persist as the population continues to change, the report said, the state’s average educational level will decline through 2020 and drag down per capita income.
The report projected a California per capita income decrease from $22,728 in 2000 to $20,252 in 2020, adjusted for inflation. By contrast, the center said, Californians’ average income rose 30 percent from 1980 to 2000.
Nationally, a 2 percent drop in income was predicted over the same period; California will suffer the biggest loss of any state.