In a dynamic region that never sits still and often seems to captivate the rest of the nation, Southern California was typically awash in change over the past decade.
And though for some there was much to celebrate, not all of the news was good — and some go so far as to suggest the luster might be fading in the Golden State.
For all its allure as the land of opportunity over more than a century, there are troubling signs today that stem from Southern California’s high cost of living and soaring housing costs. More residents are leaving than new transplants arriving from other states. Businesses, too, are fleeing to other states in disturbing numbers.
Many also blame the high cost of housing for the steady rise in people experiencing homelessness, a seemingly intractable issue that continues to roil many communities and, just recently, inspired another political spat between Gov. Gavin Newsom and President Donald Trump.
In communities across Southern California, meanwhile, an important tool for economic development — redevelopment agencies — was lost this decade, delivering a blow to cities already feeling the financial pinch of soaring pension obligations and a need to pump up revenues.
On the culture front, California voters and the U.S. Supreme Court settled two major issues this decade that had been fiercely debated for many years.
In 2015, the high court ruled that same-sex couples have the right to marry. And a year later, a measure to legalize cannabis in California was overwhelmingly approved at the polls. Advocates rejoiced at their victories with both cultural touchstones.
Finally, in the aerospace and entertainment capitals of the world, space — both real and fictional — enjoyed a star-filled decade in Southern California.
Hawthorne-based SpaceX, a giant workhorse in the nation’s private space industry, took major strides in its push to develop rockets to send astronauts back into orbit and, eventually, colonize Mars. Back on Earth, the “Star Wars” franchise exploded over the decade under its new Disney ownership, and the long-awaited “Galaxy’s Edge” opened to eager crowds at Disneyland.
Here’s a closer look at the stories that helped define Southern California in the past 10 years:
HOME, EMBATTLED HOME
Story: Southern California housing crisis
What happened: Steadily rising rents and home prices left tenants struggling to pay their bills, while many would-be home buyers were either stuck renting or moved out of state to find affordable housing.
Home building failed to keep pace, resulting in increased housing costs, overcrowding and, for some, homelessness.
Since 2010, average rents have climbed 48% in Los Angeles County and 36% in the Inland Empire, leaving nearly six out of 10 Southern California renters “cost-burdened.” The region’s median home price has risen 71% since 2012, with just a fourth of the households in L.A. and Orange counties able to buy.