first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SACRAMENTO – By 2020, California will be more crowded, its population older and its racial composition dominated by Latinos, according to a report released Tuesday. The changes will pose challenges to state lawmakers, who will have to grapple with the additional pressures on already-strained schools and health-care systems, according to the report by the California Budget Project. In just 15 years, one in seven Californians will be age 65 or older, the state will add 10 million residents, and Latinos will account for 43 percent of the population, with whites ac- counting for about 34 percent. The white and Latino populations are expected to become equal in 2010, when each is projected to account for 39 percent of the population, said Barbara Baran, associate director of the organization and the report’s author. The report, “Planning for California’s Future,” examined Census data and figures from the California Department of Finance. While it doesn’t offer recommendations, its intent is to warn lawmakers of the coming shifts. “The message here is really that this is what’s coming. This is what’s in front of us,” Baran said. “This is the beginning of another budget cycle, and we need to take an approach that is longer term, that doesn’t look at isolated issues.” Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has suggested a multibillion-dollar bond to rebuild and expand California’s freeways, bridges, levees and schools, which Baran said is important in light of the state’s projected population growth. But that proposal should be examined “in the context of other challenges – child care, elder care, health care – that are really emerging,” Baran said. Lawmakers are focusing on infrastructure because it has been long neglected in favor of investments in social programs, said Assemblyman Rick Keene, R-Chico. Improving roads and levees, which protect homes and the state’s water supply, will only help the state as it adds the expected 10 million new residents by 2020, he said. A 71 percent increase in residents age 65 and older could tax government-funded health care programs, such as Medi-Cal or In-Home Supportive Services, the report said. That age group has traditionally been very politically active, said Keene, who is vice chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee. “I don’t think there’s any danger of them being a silent population,” he said. “They will make sure their voices are heard” at the state Capitol. In one respect, Baran said, California is fortunate because its median age is slightly younger than the national average – 34 years, compared to 36 years. That means that as the state’s baby boomers retire “we have a young, vibrant workforce coming behind,” she said. But the state needs to ensure that its public schools meet the demands of a changing work environment, she said. “This question of are we appropriately educating the number of workers we need is a real one,” Baran said. The education system will be affected by changes to both racial and age demographics, the report said. Enrollment in public schools is expected to increase by 7.3 percent, or about 430,000 children, by 2020. But that is a slower pace than the previous decade, when it jumped by 21 percent between 1990 and 2000. More than half of California’s school-age children will be Latino by 2014, with a “significant minority” expected to be English-language learners, re- searchers found. Standardized tests have shown a stubborn gap between white and Latino students in academic achievement, the researchers noted. The 2005 Standardized Testing and Reporting program found that 25 percent of Latino students scored proficient or better in English, while 58 percent of white students hit that mark. That discrepancy, coupled with Latinos’ growing political clout, probably will result in calls for greater investment in public education, the report said.last_img read more