Sixteen-year-old Monica buried her face in a pillow, trying to rest for school the next day, as the clock ticked past 11 p.m.Okay, so here is how this works: a prosperous area attracts lots of newcomers from non-prosperous areas who bid up land prices and depress wages, resulting in the living arrangements which the LA Times is shocked and appalled to find exist.
Sleep was a battle in the tiny apartment. Hunched at the other end of the family's only mattress, two of her brothers played a video game while a third lounged next to her, watching virtual soccer players skitter on screen. Her 2-year-old niece toddled barefoot near the door, toying with a pile of pennies.
In all, seven people live in this wedge of space in Historic South-Central, including Monica's mother and the mother of the little girl — the longtime girlfriend of one of her brothers. They squeeze into an apartment roughly the size of a two-car garage, sharing a bathroom, a small kitchen and one common room. "We're not comfortable," Monica's mother, Josefina Cano, said in Spanish. "But what can we do? It's better than being on the street." ...
The cramped conditions echo an earlier era, when urban reformers railed against teeming tenements. After World War II, bigger homes and better incomes afforded Americans more space, and the shrinking size of families fueled the trend by 1970. But crowding rates began creeping higher again after the immigration wave of the 1980s, census data show...
Mexican and Vietnamese Americans tend to have different views than whites or blacks do of what is "crowded," according to a 2000 study, but they still suffer worsening anxiety and depression as crowding increases.
Gabriel Guerrero, for instance, complains that the noise is too much. Twelve people crowd the two-bedroom house in South Gate that he bought decades ago. After school, the clamor of the television and the chatter on phones overwhelms him.
"To go to the bathroom, you have to take a number," the 60-year-old grandfather said with a sigh. At times, his son heads to the nearby grocery to use its restroom.
Sometimes Guerrero daydreams of selling the house and finding an apartment for just a handful of them. But then he thinks of his grown children, and their growing children, muddling along with meager paychecks or measly hours.
He sets the daydream aside. "They have nowhere to go," Guerrero said.
In other words, mass Third World immigration eventually results in replication of the immigrants' living conditions back home.