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City’s Population Fell 2% in 1992, Report Says : Demography: The loss is linked to economic weakness and last year’s civil unrest. Statistics for Valley communities are mixed.

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TIMES STAFF WRITER

After a decade of near-record growth, the population of Los Angeles fell 68,000 from 1991 to 1992, the city’s largest annual decline and only the third time this century it has suffered a net loss of residents over a year, according to population estimates released Friday.

City planners said the decline can be linked to continuing economic troubles as well as last year’s civil unrest following the verdicts in the state trial of officers accused in the beating of Rodney G. King.

“Economics are probably the major explanation and there’s the possibility the disturbances could be used to explain some of it,” said Jeff Beckerman, a city demographer who prepares annual population estimates based on residential vacancy rates, utility hookups and school enrollment.

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Job losses in the city have probably accelerated the movement of older residents to other areas and slowed the number of younger, incoming residents, Beckerman said.

An estimated 3,462,403 people lived in Los Angeles in October, 1992, down 67,982 from the previous October, for a decrease of about 2%, the city report said.

Despite the overall decline, city planners show growth in two areas of the San Fernando Valley, whose population has risen an estimated .7% since 1990. The communities of Arleta and Pacoima in the northeast Valley showed the fastest growth during that time, with their populations increasing more than 5%.

Sherman Oaks, Studio City and Toluca Lake showed a combined increase of 3% in the year beginning in October, 1991. About 71,400 residents are estimated to live in those Los Angeles communities.

The remaining Valley communities within city limits all showed population losses for the period.

The largest percentage declines were in some of the Valley’s most affluent areas. Encino and Tarzana fell 4% during the year. Population in the Chatsworth-Porter Ranch area in the northwest Valley fell 3%. The remaining Valley communities fell 2% or less in population.

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Overall, the largest declines were recorded in central and southern portions of the city, which has lost about 1.4% of its population, an estimated 23,400 residents, since 1990, the city report said. The Westside and Hollywood also showed declines.

Mayor Richard Riordan said in a prepared statement: “I have not had an opportunity to completely review the report in detail, but the findings clearly reinforce the fact that we need to turn Los Angeles around and address public safety, jobs and the economy to make L.A. a more desirable city to live in.”

The economic downturn has also pushed vacancy rates up, and in some parts of the city it is clear that many residents are being forced to share increasingly crowded apartments and homes, the city report shows.

In the southeast parts of the city, for example, the population is increasing along with the number of vacant housing units.

The population of Los Angeles has increased every year of this century with the exceptions of 1974, when it fell by 3,281, and 1973, when the city lost 25,207 people.

Beckerman said it is possible that the population decrease may be continuing.

POPULATION CHANGES Percent change in population between Oct. 1991 and Oct. 1992.

Sherman Oaks-Studio City-Toluca Lake: +3%

North Hollywood: -1%

Arleta-Pacoima: +5%

Van Nuys-North Sherman Oaks: -2%

Mission Hills-Panorama City-North Hills: -2%

Sun Valley: -1%

Sylmar: -2%

Granada Hills-Knollwood: -1%

Canoga Park-Winnetka-Woodland Hills-West Hills: -1%

Chatsworth-Porter Ranch: -3%

Northridge: -1%

Reseda-West Van Nuys: -2%

Encino-Tarzana: -4%

Sunland-Tujunga: -1%

Source: Los Angeles Planning Department

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