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Almost Half of State Chamber Members Say California Is on the Wrong Track

I am always interested in statistics that help me see the real picture of our economy and growth of the region.

This week I have data from two different sources.

The population numbers for San Diego County come from the San Diego Association of Governments, or Sandag, and its compilation of the American Community Survey taken from data collected in the 2005 census.

The county snapshot looks like this:

The median age of the county population is 34.4 years. The percentage of males and females is split at 50 percent.

The ethnic breakdown is as follows:

– White 52 percent

– Hispanic 30 percent

– Asian 10 percent

– Black 5 percent

– All others under 2 percent

The education level is as diverse as the ethnic breakdown.

– 31 percent have some college;

– 21 percent have a bachelor’s degree;

– 13 percent have a graduate degree;

– 20 percent are high-school graduates or equivalent; and

– 15 percent are non-high-school graduates.

Median income levels are no surprise.

The median household income is $56,335.

The largest percentage of income is the $50,000 to $74,900 category with 19 percent.

The lowest category at 11 percent have incomes below $15,000, while the highest category , with incomes of $100,000 or more , is at 24 percent.

Eight percent of the residents are below the poverty level with 44 percent of that category being female single-parent families.

The last interesting statistic is that 82 percent of us drive alone in our vehicles, and only 3 percent use public transportation.

Housing is no surprise, with reports of 63 percent single-family homes, 33 percent multifamily dwellings and 4 percent being mobile homes and others , campers, perhaps.

The other source is the California Chamber of Commerce survey taken at their May 22 Legislative Summit in Sacramento.

The chamber asked the attendees, chamber executives, association managers and members 21 questions in their opinion poll.

I will not reprint them all but there are some that are interesting.

From a business perspective, do you believe things in California are going in the right direction or are on the wrong track? Forty- seven percent said on the wrong track, 46 percent said the right direction and 7 percent said they don’t know.

Of the 15 top issues facing business what are the three most important facing you as a business leader? Twenty-one percent said health care costs, 14 percent said finding skilled workers, 13 percent said transportation and infrastructure issues, and 10 percent said complying with regulatory requirements.

Also, 13 percent wanted to see legislators elected who understand business. Interestingly, immigration fell in the middle of the 15 issues at 6 percent.

What are the conclusions? Most business leaders feel like things are OK. Yes, there are issues, but as the numbers indicate, nothing is soaring atop the discontentment list.

As far as our county is concerned, the cost of housing and energy does not seem to be driving that many people away and the number of newcomers, more than 35,000 annually, are still born here.

In other statistical news in North County:

The San Marcos creek-side development panel last week somewhat quietly approved the $1 billion private creek-side development project. The 214-acre project would build a new downtown in the core of the city.

It is planned to include retail stores, offices and 2,300 homes. The next stop is the Planning Commission on July 2 and to the City Council on July 24. The development is a crown jewel in the city’s development plans.

Buildings will be limited to no taller than six stories and there will be plenty of open space, parks and even an amphitheater.

The best landmark to visualize the site is to picture the multiplex theater complex on San Marcos Boulevard, and the site is south and a little west from that area.


Ted Owen is president and CEO of the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce.

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