Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Walters on Growth

Good overview of the statewide issues sweeping into the near view, providing challenge and opportunity.

Dan Walters: Big growth generates big conflict
By Dan Walters - Bee Staff Writer
Published 12:00 am PDT Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Lord James Bryce, Great Britain's ambassador to the United States, in 1909 visited California, which then had scarcely 2 million residents, and offered this prophetic observation:

"What will happen when California is filled by 50 millions of people and its valuation is five times what it is now? There will be more people -- as many as the country can support -- and the real question will be not about making more wealth or having more people, but whether the people will then be happier or better than they have been hitherto or are at this moment."

By happenstance, the current British ambassador to the United States, Sir David Manning, visited the state Capitol on Monday, just as state demographers were issuing new population projections indicating that Lord Bryce's 98-year-old question is even more pertinent now.

The Department of Finance report offers these demographic observations over the next 43 years:

• The 2010 census should count more than 39 million Californians, and the population should surpass 44 million by 2020 and 49 million by 2030, hit 50 million by 2032 and approach 60 million by 2050.