Outgrowing the Big Apple : L.A. Expected to Surpass N.Y. in Population by Year 2000, Study Says

Times Staff Writer

By the year 2000, Los Angeles will top New York as the country's most populous metropolitan region, according to new government projections released Monday. The projections also show that San Francisco is outdistancing the rest of the nation in personal income.

The projections, in a study by the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis, say that the population of the Los Angeles metropolitan area will grow to 8,870,000 by the turn of the century, and that San Francisco's average personal income will reach $24,905.

"California's lucky," said George K. Downey, a regional economist at the Commerce Department bureau. "There are a few areas that aren't."

Some heavy industrial areas, including Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Detroit, are projected to lose populations by the year 2000 as the Sun Belt continues to attract jobs and people. And the report projects that Salt Lake City will have the lowest per capita income ($13,465) among the 15 areas that will fall below the national average of $15,740.

The report covers the period between 1983 and 2000 in the 55 largest metropolitan statistical areas--those whose populations are expected to exceed 1 million by the year 2000.

For purposes of the report, the metropolitan area is restricted to Los Angeles County, which is expected to grow 13.5% during the period, while New York's population will rise only 1.7% to 8,433,000, almost half a million behind Los Angeles. Chicago is expected to hold on to its third-place ranking with slow growth, followed by Philadelphia and Detroit. Anaheim-Santa Ana's population will grow 32.4% to 2,726,000, the report said. In the Commerce report, the New York metropolitan area is defined as Putnam, Westchester and Rockland counties as well as New York City. It does not include the Long Island suburbs.

But while Los Angeles will become the largest metropolitan area, the fastest-growing areas are expected to be West Palm Beach, Fla., 61.3%; Phoenix, 54.6%; Orlando, Fla., 50.5%, and Riverside-San Bernardino, 41.9%.

In line with its No. 1 population ranking, Los Angeles also will have the largest total personal income and number of jobs, the report said.

The leader in per capita income, however, will be San Francisco--58% above the projected national average of $15,740. The Bay Area will displace Bridgeport, Conn., which will fall to second place, the report said. Per capita income in Los Angeles will rise 27.4% to $17,087, and in Anaheim-Santa Ana it will increase 35.5% to $20,671.

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