The data I plot below come from the wonderful website of the SANDAG Regional Information Systems. SANDAG is the San Diego Association of Governments, which is one of the most useful such governmental organization that I have seen. SANDAG gets their income data from California state tax returns and the updated population estimates by tbs.
The age distribution of the greater Fallbrook area (Subregional Area 55), which includes De Luz, Rainbow and Bonsall, as of 1/1/97 is shown on the left below, with the Hispanic percentage shown on the right. Also plotted for comparison are the cities of Escondido and Oceanside and the entire county of San Diego.
The data were given in 5 year age brackets, except for the population over age 75. To normalize the population in that age bracket, I assumed an effective upper age limit of 95.
(Click on graph for bigger and better image.)
(Click on graph for bigger and better image.)
To a first approximation, the demographic curves for each population sample look similar, and resemble the overall demographics of the entire U.S.. (The easiest way to do this comparison is to put the Fallbrook plot in one browser window, the U.S. plot in another browser window, and alt-tab between them.)
The main (small) differences between the San Diego population and the U.S. population is the larger number of children age 0-5 and the slightly-less-pronounced baby-boom peak, both due to the increased percentage of Hispanics in California, who have a much higher number of children then the non-Hispanic population.
It is readily apparent that below age 60, the Hispanic percentage of the population is significantly higher in North County than in San Diego County as a whole. The Hispanic percentage is consistently an extra 5-10% of the population in each age bracket under 40, representing as much as a 40% increase in the relative percentage. This is probably due to the agricultural and rural nature of North County, which has attracted Hispanic immigrants to the job opportunities provided there.
The higher number of children in Hispanic families probably accounts for the larger percentage of children under 15 in North County. There are 12% more children under age 15 in North County than in San Diego County as a whole, with 26.0% of the North County population under age 15 versus 23.2% of San Diego County.
Also, San Diego County as a whole has 20% more residents in the age bracket 20-25, when compared to North County. 8% of the residents of San Diego County are ages 20-25, compared to 6.5% in North County. This is probably due to the colleges and universities found mostly in South County, whose graduates often get their first job near their university. The extra 1.5% of the total population of 2.7 million in San Diego County is 40,000 people, which is the same order as the university population in those universities.
The Fallbrook demographic curve turns out to be much more interesting than I had thought. It has several notable differences from the San Diego and North County curves, listed below in order of significance:
The Hispanic percentage of the Fallbrook population over age 60 is over 30% lower than in North County and San Diego County. Hispanics make up only ~9% of the population over age 60 in Fallbrook, compared to ~14% in North County and San Diego County.
The Hispanic percentage of the Fallbrook population ages 25-45 is ~15% higher than in North County. 32% of Fallbrook residents ages 25-45 are Hispanic, compared to 28% in North County.
It is fairly easy to understand the cause of these demographic shifts:
For example, I was born in Topeka, Kansas, which is a significantly larger city (200,000 population) than Fallbrook, with correspondingly more job opportunities for local residents than Fallbrook offers. Nonetheless, I was amazed to discover at my 20th high school reunion that only 38% of my fellow high school graduates still lived in Topeka, with only 57% of them still living in the state of Kansas! If 62% of Topeka high school graduates have left Topeka, the percentage among Fallbrook high school graduates who have left Fallbrook surely has to be even higher, given the relative number of jobs between the two cities.
There is nothing surprising about this, and essentially nothing that can (or should!) be done about this. The only way to change this is for Fallbrook to become a large metropolis like San Diego, L.A. and New York, offering a huge number and variety of jobs. There are a number of economic reasons why this is impossible for Fallbrook, and it would destroy Fallbrook's very attractiveness to most of the people who live here if it could be done.
There are actually two effects here. First, a certain percentage of high school graduates desire jobs not offered in Fallbrook or even North County, and thus are forced to leave in order to obtain those jobs. Second, a certain percentage of high school graduates simply want to live in other areas. Large metropolises generally attract as many of these people as they lose, so this is a net wash for large areas, but another cause of young people loss to Fallbrook and North County.
Of course, some of these "emigrants" return to Fallbrook as retirees.
The demographic curve thus significantly masks the actual loss of native Fallbrook residents aged 20-45, which is therefore much higher than most people in Fallbrook realize. The "workers" show up clearly on the percent of Hispanic population for Fallbrook compared to North County.
I have performed a simple detailed numeric simulation that demonstrates that these reasons can reproduce the observed data. Although this model is able to quantify these effects, it must be kept in mind that this is an extremely simplistic model which is probably only reliable in its basic outline and order of magnitude for its numbers. Conclusions from the model:
For more details, see the detailed numeric simulation.
Please note that I have presented and analyzed the Hispanic percentage of the population solely because these are fascinating data, and no bias or evil intent is present! Note that the Hispanic percentage was key to understanding some of the effects in the demographic curves.
This article was inspired by the discussion of Jason Anderson, who authored the SANDAG Report on Fallbrook commissioned by the Fallbrook Chamber of Commerce.
Copyright © 1998, 1999 by Tom Chester.
Permission is freely granted to reproduce any or all of this page as long as credit is given to me at this source:
Comments and feedback: Tom Chester
Last update: 29 March 1998; typo corrected 1 January 1999; orange county buyers statistics added 2/25/99.