LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles residents are feeling worse about the city’s race relations, according to a new public opinion survey from Loyola Marymount University.
Just 8.2% of city residents feel racial and ethnic groups in LA are getting along very well, the study found. Almost 40% say race relations have gotten worse over the last four years — twice as many as the last time the survey was conducted in 2017.
The university released the survey Thursday, one day before the 30th anniversary of the LA riots, which began in response to the acquittal of four Los Angeles Police Department officers in the beating of Rodney King. Over the course of six days, five dozen people were killed, almost 2,400 were injured and 12,000 had been arrested, with Koreatown and South LA experiencing the brunt of the looting, vandalism and shootouts.
“Those who live in the zip codes where the 911 calls were made years ago, they’re much less likely to say that things have improved compared to those in the non-riot areas,” said Brianne Gilbert, manager director of Loyola Marymount University’s StudyLA, which was born from the 1992 riots.
The Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Center for the Study of Los Angeles has conducted its public opinion survey of LA residents every five years since 1997. The largest general social survey of any metropolitan area in the urban U.S., the 2022 survey took place between Jan. 4 and Feb. 10 with 2,022 LA County residents, 1,000 of whom live in the city of LA. Respondents were evenly divided between Black, Asian, Latino and White residents.
According to the new survey, Black and Asian respondents are most likely to say race relations have gotten worse, as are respondents age 45 or older.
The 2022 study also found that a majority of Angelinos feel it is likely another riot or disturbance will happen in the city of LA in the next five years. In 2012, less than half of survey respondents felt it was likely, but that began to change in 2017 and “skyrocketed to a higher level” in 2022, Gilbert said.
The group most likely to think another riot is likely weren’t even born when the LA riots took place; they are between the ages of 18 and 29, the survey found. Women are also more likely to think another race riot could happen in the city, as are people who identify as LGBTQ.
The 2022 survey reflects a growing trend among city residents that Los Angeles is heading in the wrong direction. In 2017, 32.1% felt the city was headed in the wrong direction. In 2022, 52.2% feel that way.
Blacks and Latinos are most likely to think the city is going in the wrong direction, as are women and people age 45 and older. Younger respondents and people with kids are more optimistic, the survey found.
“You can see this occurring not only in LA but throughout the nation,” said StudyLA director Fernando Guerra. “Angelinos, Californians and Americans are increasingly becoming pessimistic about the direction of the nation, the state and even the city of LA.”
Still, there is reason for optimism. Even with just 47.8% of Angelinos feeling the city is heading in the right direction, “that is still higher than many other cities,” Guerra added.
LA residents also feel more positively about their own neighborhoods than they do about the city as a whole, with 59.9% saying their neighborhood is headed in the right direction.