city buildings under the blue sky

L.A. County’s Population Still Towers Over 80% of the U.S.

StatePopulation
Alaska578,803
Vermont623,989
Wyoming645,570
D.C.670,050
South Dakota732,673
Rhode Island774,948
North Dakota895,376
West Virginia1,003,084
Maine1,095,610
New Hampshire1,104,271
Delaware1,372,447
Mississippi1,388,992
Montana1,441,553
Hawaii1,782,959
Idaho1,900,923
Nebraska1,963,692
Kansas2,934,582
New Mexico2,949,965
Arkansas3,025,891
Nevada3,143,991
Iowa3,193,079
Utah3,337,975
Connecticut3,605,597
Oklahoma3,986,639
Oregon4,246,155
Kentucky4,509,394
Louisiana4,624,047
Alabama5,039,877
South Carolina5,100,000
Minnesota5,707,390
Colorado5,812,069
Wisconsin5,895,908
Maryland6,165,129
Missouri6,168,187
Indiana6,805,985
Tennessee6,975,218
Massachusetts6,984,723
Arizona7,276,316
Washington7,738,692
Virginia8,642,274
New Jersey9,267,130
L.A. County9,934,710
Michigan10,050,811
North Carolina10,551,162
Georgia10,799,566
Ohio11,780,017
Illinois12,671,469
Pennsylvania12,964,056
New York19,835,913
Florida21,781,128
Texas29,527,941
California39,237,836

Although L.A. County and California recently lost a Congressional seat (and electoral college vote) due to the rising cost of living here over the last decade, it remains the case that both supply the U.S. with unmatched people power and economic activity.

If both were suddenly removed from the union, the U.S. would instantly lose 14% of its total economy and also go from a nation of 330 million people to 291 million. The 40 states behind in terms of population and D.C.’s combined area also amount to 2.8 million of the 3.8 million square miles (land and water areas included) that comprise the United States.

In other words, if one of those 1950s Martian men suddenly crashed their ship in the contiguous U.S.–including Alaska– it’d need to scour through at least 74% of the nation’s land and water before finding a region as populous as L.A. County. Moreover, while the state of Michigan–which voted for Trump in 2016–holds a population just slightly higher than that of L.A. County at 10 million, it takes 96,700 square miles of that state’s area to situate its residents, while L.A. County places its 9.9 million people with only 4,700 square miles.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts, June 2021

J.T.

Pandemic in Los Angeles: Day 26

I’ve seen how little by little, people are now are embracing more the isolation that’s been popularized through this public health crisis. This is best demonstrated by the prevalence of the face mask, the new symbol of acceptance for a more precarious reality. I think of people in Beijing, China, who came to terms with precarious conditions years ago once realizing their city’s air was one of the most polluted in the world. 

But it’s now clear that China isn’t the only nation that can act swiftly and with authority towards a serious public health threat. For this reason, climate change, and curbing carbon emissions worldwide, should be a renewed issue that all the nations of the world should pay attention to with refreshed eyes.

After witnessing the quickness and consistency with which the entire globe has treated the threat of COVID-19, can the presidents of the world’s nations, particularly this one, continue insisting to people that climate change is another “hoax” we should pay no mind to, or which at the very least we shouldn’t take some precautions for? 

Throughout this crisis, an abundance of data, from reports of the Black community’s disproportionate death rate in relation to the disease, to reports of the shortage of access to testing in places like South Central Los Angeles and Palmdale, where Latinos make up the majority of the population, demonstrate how existing healthcare inequalities are only exacerbated by public health threats which, income brackets notwithstanding, pose a risk to every member of society. 

If given a true moment to pause, can the president of this nation–in the case he is reelected–genuinely walk away unmoved by what the crisis has revealed about our inertia towards radical changes in society? More importantly, can the president see how despite a response which was globally slower than it should have been, nations everywhere have managed to enact serious policies to curb the damage wrought by this pandemic? 

This leads to another question our elected officials and voters everywhere must ask: how committed are we to the differences that divide us, separating rich from poor?

I think of Mitch McConnell, who in my opinion has been the most dangerous member of Congress for over a decade now, placing the health and well-being of American workers in harm’s way at the mercy of corporate executives and hedge fund managers. Clearly McConnell has not been shaken by this moment in our nation’s history to move in support of transformative and overdue changes to our way of life here–universal healthcare access, a new federal minimum wage, gun safety legislation, student debt forgiveness being a few that come to mind–so we have to ask: what’s left?

Love it or hate it, it appears that all we have now is November. I wish there were a better answer, but for now we’ve got to make do with what’s in front of us. Something I’ve come to know well over the course of time.

Let’s get to it, Los Angeles.

J.T.

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Pandemic in Los Angeles: Day 24

I’d like to dedicate today’s writing to any human being out there besides myself who’s had a difficult time of late due to the health crisis. Although I’ve frequently written about this moment in our nation’s history as something of a collective experience, it’s still true that there are many out there who don’t have the privilege to reflect on time in this way.

In the world before the shutdown, some of my favorite pastimes included boarding the Metro 704 bus across Santa Monica boulevard, or the Metro 754 bus south of Vermont avenue. There was also the Red Line, which I sometimes loathed and sometimes loved, but which was crucial for connecting to Koreatown and Union Station, transporting my footsteps to these and so many other different swaths of L.A. Now, the only time I’ve come together with any of these services has been through the photographs I’ve taken of them while walking along the intersections.

I can still walk, another privilege not everyone has, which makes it more accessible for me to keep up with a new routine despite the challenges. I stroll to places like Villalobos Market, as well as Jons for tortillas and jamón. When time permits, I like to scour the nearby Pacific French Bakery or Guatemalteca Bakery for the conchas I continue holding so dearly.

Nowadays, each of these places are transformed as grocery stores and bakeries all over the world might be, but they are still what they’ve always been: tiny places still storing a world of goods for a people to continue living, for a culture to continue surviving.

When a friend and I spoke for my podcast recently, she mentioned that on seeing the liquor stores and the neon lights illuminating the storefronts, she knew she was in my vicinity. Until she made that comment, I hadn’t stopped to realize just how much I actually reflect these humble establishments. I wonder for a moment exactly when each of these places first came to be, and just how many people’s lives they’ve touched over the years, how magnified that process is now. I see them with renewed eyes, and it’s a privilege to be able to recognize them as stalwart pillars in the community clothed in humble dress; as old and new pueblos in Los Angeles for the way people make them, and for the way they make people.

In Los Angeles, where people daily crush engines rushing past such pueblos in a scramble for their freeways, and where they rush past the silhouettes whose steps extend the life of these pueblos, like photosynthesis, pumping fresh air into the entirety of the land, I hope they can see it all just a little more clearly now; this is our home, our vecindario, overseen by flocks of angels in fluttering strides at every corner.

J.T.

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