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The wine industry is one of the elements that helped improve California's economic performance. EFE/ JOHN G. MABANGLO
The wine industry is one of the elements that helped improve California's economic performance. EFE/ JOHN G. MABANGLO

The Californian boom: The fifth largest economy in the world

The GDP of California, with a majority of Hispanics in its population, has overtaken the economy of the United Kingdom. However, the homeless population has…

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The fact always makes it to the news. California’s gross domestic product usually locates it among the top countries with the largest economies in the world, as if it were an independent nation. In May, the state with 40 million inhabitants - the most populated in the U.S. - of which more than 15 million people are Hispanic, beat its own record and it is now the fifth largest economy in the world, overtaking the United Kingdom, with a bigger population (25 million more).

The fact is attributed to “federal data” in the majority of publications that reported the news, with no details about its source. But El País explained that it comes from the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis and it is listed on a chart from the Commerce Department of California, “which is the only one to publish official comparisons between the state and sovereign countries.”

The figures are so robust that the economy of California can be measured with the same parameters as a country. El Mundo correspondent Pablo Scarpellini dedicated its most recent section “La Mirada del Corresponsal” to break down the reasons why California escalated in the ranking to oust the British economy. California is now just behind Germany, Japan, China and the United States.

In 2017, California’s GDP rose by $127 billion in comparison to 2016, and it is now higher than $2.7 trillion. The unemployment rate remains at 4.3 percent and the average income per family is $63,636, the correspondent reported. And again, the location in Silicon Valley of companies such as Apple, Google, Facebook, Netflix, Oracle and Tesla is responsible for these figures. But, as Scarpellini notes, so is Hollywood, as well as agriculture – 13 percent of the total production of the United States - and the wine industry (the best wine in the world is in Napa Valley). This altogether helped to improve the economic performance.

“The Californian economy seems to be working precisely with everything that Trump says is bad,” Pablo Ximénez de Sandoval wrote in his article for El País.

In fact, statistics demonstrate that the Hispanic population in California is bigger than the white population, and that Latinos have overcome all the other ethnic groups living in that state. Latinos already appeared as a majority population in the 2015 census, according to BBC Mundo. A comparative report from Univision estimates that around 2060 the Latinos will be 45.6 percent of the California population.

Also, California is a “sanctuary state” for more than 2 million undocumented immigrants.

However, there is a not-so-cheerful side of this boom of prosperity. The accelerated growth in the Californian economy has also brought about a sheer increase in the prices of housing and, at the same time, in the homeless population, according to The New York Times. The homeless population of California saw a 14 percent increase in 2017.

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