Hidden in Plain Sight: Why California's Economically Challenged Cities Matter

Nearly 12 million Californians live in an economically challenged city — that’s equal to the entire population of the state of Ohio — and a quarter of all challenged cities in the country are in California. The National Resource Network's research highlights the critical role these cities play in the state’s economy and describe their potential to become significant catalysts for further economic growth if challenges are overcome.

This report illustrates why it is important for elected officials and policymakers to work with the leadership in these cities to make the most of resources that can improve their economies and their residents’ quality of life. Understanding, identifying and then overcoming the economic barriers in California’s cities is vital to our nation and, most of all, to the 12 million people who live there.

This report was released at an event at the USC Price School on November 18, 2015. Bob Shrum, Carmen H. and Louis Warschaw Chair in Practical Politics and Professor of the Practice of Political Science at USC, moderated a panel that included Aja Brown, Mayor of Compton; Mercedes Márquez, former Deputy Mayor of Los Angeles; David Chiu, CA State Assemblymember; and Raphael Bostic, Sol Price School of Public Policy at the USC.  Antonio Villaraigosa, former Mayor of Los Angeles, gave the closing remarks. Watch highlights from the discussion below and check out this great article by the Sacramento Bee.