Congressman Sherman releases San Fernando Valley Census Report

Print This Post Print This Post

Washington, D.C. — Congressman Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) released the U.S. Census Bureau’s latest San Fernando Valley Census Report yesterday, January 5.  At his request, the Census Bureau updated the report using detailed data from the 2008 American Community Survey (ACS). The first-ever Valley Census Report was released in December 2006, also at Sherman’s request.


Brad Sherman

Congressman Brad Sherman

The Valley Census Report offers an annual demographic snapshot of the San Fernando Valley to help community organizations, businesses, and government leaders make better-informed decisions affecting the Valley’s future and help our region compete for its fair share of funding for transportation improvements, housing, and social service programs.


“The Valley Census Report reveals that, compared to the average American, Valley residents continue to make more money, spend more of it on housing, and endure longer commutes to work,” said Congressman Sherman. “The Valley has a rich cultural diversity and a highly educated workforce, but these tough economic times are presenting enormous challenges for many Valley families,” he added.

The more than 1.75 million people who live in the Valley exceed the populations of all but the four largest cities in the United States – New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston. The Valley’s population has increased 3.5% since the 2000 Census.

The Valley Census Report shows that Valley residents spend, on average, nearly a half-hour (29.4 minutes) commuting to work, which is 8% longer than the average Californian and 13% longer than the average American. In 2007, Congressman Sherman highlighted figures from the earlier Valley Census Report to convince officials in Sacramento to direct funding to Valley transportation projects, such as carpool lanes on the 5 and 405 Freeways.

Valley residents, on average, are more educated than other parts of the City and County with 118,575 people with graduate or professional degrees and another 239,705 with bachelor’s degrees. Since 2000, the Valley has had a 16.6% increase (59,689) in those with bachelor’s or advanced degrees.

In 2008, the median home value as self-reported on the American Community Survey form by respondents in the Valley ($560,500) was higher than Los Angeles County or California, and was nearly triple the U.S. median home value ($197,600). Of course, home prices have dropped substantially since 2008, both nationwide and in the Valley.

Also in 2008, over 50% of Valley homeowners (119,700) were spending 35% or more of their income on housing. Overall, the median monthly mortgage and homeowner’s costs had increased nearly 10% ($2,381 to $2,630) since 2000.

Census300The report also shows that poverty remains a significant economic barrier for many Valley families (10.5% or over 55,680 households with incomes below $15,000), justifying the Valley’s requests for housing funds, as well as economic development and social service programs, including federal Community Development Block Grants (CDBG). Although the poverty rate has decreased from 2000 to 2008 in the San Fernando Valley and the entire City of Los Angeles, we could expect figures to increase given the impact of this year’s economy.

“The 2008 ACS release gives us our first detailed data on Valley economic conditions following the onset of our current recession and a view of the impact of over $4.00 gas prices in 2008,” explained Dr. William W. Roberts, Director of the San Fernando Valley Economic Research Center at California State University, Northridge. According to Dr. Roberts, Valley residents showed an increase between 2007 and 2008 in the use of carpools and public transportation by almost 17 percent each. “With the onset of our housing crisis there was a slight decline in owner occupied housing and a corresponding increase in renter occupied housing. Evidence appears of a slight shift in Valley employment away from production towards service and sales occupations,” added Dr. Roberts. “Valley diversity remains strong and is a powerful force in maintaining stable Valley economic conditions.”

Robert L. Scott, Director of the Mulholland Institute (a division of The Valley Economic Alliance) said that the “availability of San Fernando Valley Census data has helped in the process of forming a San Fernando Valley Council of Governments and will continue to provide supportive data to help our cities manage regional planning issues.” “This data is crucial to our civic and government leaders in charting the course ahead,” added Scott.

“As the economic development and business assistance program serving the San Fernando Valley, having access to Census data for this region is absolutely critical to the work we do” said Bruce Ackerman, President and CEO of The Valley Economic Alliance. “It allows us to tell the story about what is happening to our businesses, and to anticipate the types of services and programs they may need based on economic trends and patterns. We are truly indebted to Congressman Sherman for his efforts to help us secure this valuable information.”

Snapshot of the San Fernando Valley  With Comparison to the City of Los Angeles as a Whole 2000 and 2008

YEAR: 2000


SFV – 1.69 million

LA – 3.69 million



White – 44% (746,392)

Latino – 38.9% (659,878)

Black – 3.7% (62,764)

Asian – 9.5% (161,152)


White – 29.6% (1,093,670)

Latino – 46.5% (1,718,097)

Black – 10.8% (399,042)

Asian – 10% (369,483)

Below poverty level (people)

SFV – 15% (254,452)

LA – 22.1% (816,558)

Median Household Income


LA – $36,687

High school graduate or higher

SFV – 73.5% (805,086)

LA – 61.4% (1,417,656)

Bachelor’s degree or higher

SFV – 27.3% (299,032)

LA – 25.5% (588,766)

Foreign-born residents

SFV – 39.9% (676,842)

LA – 40.9% (1,511,187)

English-only households

SFV – 44.2% (624,571)

LA – 42.2% (1,269,204)

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, San Fernando Valley Economic Research Center 

YEAR: 2008


SFV – 1.75 million

LA – 3.80 million



White – 41.8% (734,215)

Latino – 42.4% (745,205)

Black – 3.6% (63,025)

Asian – 10% (175,095)


White – 28.9% (1,097,741)

Latino – 49.1% (1,867,861)

Black – 9.5% (362,157)

Asian – 10.2% (389,517)

Below poverty level (people)

SFV – 13.1% (230,054)

LA – 19.4% (737,856)

Median Household Income

SFV – $58,511

LA – $48,882

High school graduate or higher

SFV – 78.2% (901,993)

LA – 72.7% (1,779,804)

Bachelor’s degree or higher

SFV – 31.1% (358,721)

LA – 28.9% (707,515)

Foreign-born residents

SFV – 40.6% (712,425)

LA – 39.4% (1,498,184)

English-only households

SFV – 40.4% (661,230)

LA – 39.7% (1,397,127)

Driving to work alone

SFV – 73.5%

LA – 66.4% Percent Change


SFV – 3.5%

LA – 2.9%



White – <1.7%>

Latino – 11.5%

Black – 0.4%

Asian – 8.0%


White – 0.4%

Latino – 8.0%

Black – <9.2%>

Asian – 5.1%

Below poverty level (people)

SFV – <9.6%>

LA – <9.6%>

Median Household Income


LA – 24.9%

High School graduate or higher

SFV – 10.8%

LA – 20.4%

Bachelor’s degree or higher

SFV – 16.6%

LA – 16.7%

Foreign-born residents

 SFV – 5.0%

 LA – <0.8%>

English-only households

SFV – 5.5%

LA – 9.1%

About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.