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Southwest Mobile Storage is a family-owned shipping container business founded in 1995. Our strength for more than 25 years comes from the specialized knowledge and passion of our people, along with serving over 24,000 commercial, construction and residential customers. Our 90,000 sq. ft. facility and expertise in maintaining, manufacturing, and delivering corrugated steel containers are unrivaled in the industry.

While the rental side of our business is regional, with branches throughout the Southwest, our container sales and modification operations are nationwide and becoming global. Panorama City, CA, offers a wide selection of portable offices and mobile storage containers you can rent, buy or modify.

Our experts in container rental, sales and customization are committed to providing you with the highest quality and best experience from service to delivery - our reputation depends on it.

Whether you need shipping containers for storage, office, moving, multi-purpose or custom use, we've got your back.



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When you choose mobile storage containers over traditional storage facilities, you get more space for less, plus the convenience of onsite, 24/7 access to your valuables. And if you can't keep a container at your location, we offer you the flexibility to store it at our place instead. Rest assured, our high-quality storage containers will keep your items safe from weather, pests and break-ins. When you need to rent, buy or modify mobile storage containers in Panorama City, CA, look no further than Southwest Mobile Storage.

Our certified experts modify containers to fit any of your business needs or events.

Our shipping container modifications can help improve or expand your business. We can customize containers to any size you need, so you can rest easy knowing you have enough space for your inventory, documents, equipment or services.

Here's why you should choose us for your container modifications:

  • We offer the highest quality modifications on the market.
  • Our certified fabricators have years of combined experience in container modifications. No other company in the industry matches our expertise.
  • We have modified thousands of containers over the past 25 years for foreign and domestic clients.
  • Our certified weld and quality control inspectors ensure everything is structurally sound and built to your specifications through every step of the process.
  • We can build multiple projects simultaneously in our 90,000 sq ft fabrication facility with consistent quality and a fast turnaround.
  • Most of our competition outsources their modifications, so you don’t know who is doing the work or how much markup is involved.
  • Even after your custom container has been delivered, we still have your back. Our full-service staff can provide maintenance and quick modifications at your location.
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When you own a business or manage one, it's crucial to have efficient, affordable ways to store inventory and supplies, whether it's to grow your business or adapt to changes in the market. Renting or buying storage containers to keep at your business eliminates the cost and hassles of sending your staff to offsite storage facilities. If you're in need of a custom solution, we'll modify shipping containers into whatever you need to grow your business. Whether it's new paint with your branding, a durable container laboratory for scientific research, or mobile wastewater treatment units,our unrivaled fabrication facility and modification expertshave you covered.



We know how important it is for your construction company to have reliable, secure storage and comfortable office space at your jobsite. All our storage containers for rent in Panorama City, CA, come standard with first-rate multi-point locking systems, so you can rest assured your tools, equipment and materials are safe and secure. We also understand that construction can run long or finish early. We'll accommodate your schedule, even on short notice, and will prorate your rent after your first 28 days, so you don't have to pay for more than you actually need. With us, you also won't have to deal with the hassle of a large call center. Instead, you'll have dedicated sales representatives who will work with you for the entirety of your business with us.

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 Mobile Storage Containers Panorama City, CA


Get 24/7 access to your personal belongings without ever leaving your property. Whether you need short-term storage during home renovations or to permanently expand your home's storage space, our shipping containers for rental, sale and modification in Panorama City, CA, are the most convenient, secure solution. With our first-rate security features, using a storage container for your holiday decorations, lawn equipment, furniture, and other items will keep your contents safer than if you used a shed. Don't have room on your property? We also offer the option to keep your container at our secure facility. Our experienced team is here to help you find the perfect solution for your needs.



Our ground-mounted mobile offices provide comfortable, temperature-controlled workspace without the extra expenses associated with portable office trailers, like stairs, metal skirting or setup and removal fees. Whether you only need one workspace, storage to go with it, or separate rooms in one container, we've got you covered. With our 500 years of combined container fabrication experience, rest easy knowing your mobile office is of the highest quality craftsmanship when you choose Southwest Mobile Storage.


Standard Storage Containers for Rent

10' Single Door Container
15' Single Door Container
20' Single Door Container
24' Single Door Container
30' Single Door Container
40' Single Door Container
45' Single Door Container
24' Double Door Container
30' Double Door Container
40' Double Door Container

Standard Storage Containers for Rent

10' Open Bay Offices
20' Open Bay Offices
40' Open Bay Offices
40' Office with Split Rooms
20' Office/Storage Combo
24' Office/Storage Combo
40' Office/Storage Combo


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Up to six points for adding locks to your shipping container, including a high-security slide bolt for puck locks.

Extra-long lockbox to ensure you always have at least one lock keeping your mobile storage container safe from break-ins.

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No holes to ensure your rental shipping container is wind and watertight.

Our 14-gauge corrugated steel containers are stronger than other storage solutions like pods.

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Latest News in Panorama City, CA

New California Variant May Be Driving Virus Surge There, Study Suggests

In late December, scientists in California began searching coronavirus samples for a fast-spreading new variant that had just been identified in Britain.They found it, though in relatively few samples. But in the process, the scientists made another unwelcome discovery: California had produc...

In late December, scientists in California began searching coronavirus samples for a fast-spreading new variant that had just been identified in Britain.

They found it, though in relatively few samples. But in the process, the scientists made another unwelcome discovery: California had produced a variant of its own.

That mutant, which belongs to a lineage known as CAL.20C, seemed to have popped up in July but lay low till November. Then it began to quickly spread.

CAL.20C accounted for more than half of the virus genome samples collected in Los Angeles laboratories on Jan. 13, according to a new study that has not yet been published.

“We had our own problem that didn’t cross over from Europe,” said Jasmine Plummer, a research scientist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, who worked on the new study. “It really originated here, and it had the chance to start to emerge and surge over the holiday.”

There’s no evidence that CAL.20C is more lethal than other variants. And scientists have to conduct more research to determine whether CAL.20C is in fact more contagious than other forms of the virus.

But Eric Vail, the director of molecular pathology at Cedars-Sinai, said it was possible that CAL.20C is playing a large part in the surge of cases that has overwhelmed Southern California’s hospitals. “I’m decently confident that this is a more infectious strain of the virus,” Dr. Vail said.

Dr. Charles Chiu, a virologist at the University of California, San Francisco, said that across the state, he and his colleagues are finding the variant in roughly 20 percent to 30 percent of samples being sequenced. “It just popped up under our noses, and now it’s rising in multiple counties,” he said. “On the whole, it’s safe to say it’s going to spread outside of California.”

Researchers are also looking in other states for CAL.20C, Dr. Plummer said, and have so far found it in Arizona, Connecticut, Maryland, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming, as well as the District of Columbia. It’s not clear yet how common it is outside of California.

Last week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put out a formal warning about the variant swamping Britain. Although that mutant, called B.1.1.7, is still relatively rare in the United States, accounting for less than one-half percent of infections, the agency said it could be responsible for the majority of the nation’s cases by March.

An agency spokesman said that the C.D.C. is working with California to learn more about the new variant. “Currently, it’s not known whether this variant is any different from other SARS-CoV-2 viruses, whether those differences may have contributed to its emergence, or whether this emergence was merely a random event,” he said.

“I’ll say this particular variant is one to watch,” said Kristian Andersen, a virologist at Scripps Research Institute who discovered one of the first samples of B.1.1.7 in the United States. But he cautioned that it’s still unclear whether CAL.20C is getting more common because it has some biological advantage, or just by chance.

If both B.1.1.7 and CAL.20C are both more contagious than other variants, it’s not clear how a competition between the two of them will sort out. “CAL.20C has a big head start,” Dr. Vail said. “Even if B.1.1.7 is more infective overall, we may never see a big surge from it here in L.A.”

Ever since scientists first identified the new coronavirus a year ago in China, they’ve been tracking the emergence of new mutations, which arise at random and get passed down to new generations of viruses as they replicate in our bodies.

Many mutations are harmful to the virus and make it worse at replicating. Many others are neutral. But researchers have now discovered several that are worrisome because they seem to help the virus infect people more efficiently.

In the early months of the pandemic, a mutation arose in a lineage that then became dominant across much of the world. Known as D614G, the mutation is now believed to make the virus more easily transmitted from person to person, compared with variants without it.

In December, researchers in Britain found B.1.1.7, which is about 50 percent more transmissible than previous versions of the virus. The variant is a driving factor in the surge of cases and hospitalizations there now.

B.1.1.7 was in the United States in early November, according to a study posted online Tuesday by University of Arizona biologists Brendan Larsen and Michael Worobey. That would mean the variant had been circulating for two months before being detected.

In California, researchers looking for B.1.1.7 began noticing an unusual mutation in their samples. The mutation, called L452R, alters the shape of a protein, called spike, which decorates the surface of the coronavirus.

“We stumbled on this really unexpected finding and went with it from there,” Dr. Vail said.

The mutation has popped up in different viral lineages over the past year. Scientists have studied L452R because it might help coronaviruses stick to our cells and infect them.

In California, Dr. Vail, Dr. Plummer and their colleagues found that whenever they came across a variant with the L452 mutation, it also carried four other distinctive mutations. That combination, they said, indicated that they were dealing with a single lineage that had emerged at some point in California. The researchers named any virus carrying all five mutations CAL.20C.

The California Department of Health held a news conference Sunday night to announce that the L452 mutation was becoming more common in California. On Monday night, Cedars-Sinai issued a news release about its study, which will soon be posted on the preprint website MedRxiv.

The Cedars-Sinai team is part of a statewide network of researchers who have been tracking mutations in the coronavirus. They randomly selected nasal swabs from patients who tested positive for the coronavirus, and then collected genetic material from the swabs.

The researchers pieced the fragments together to reconstruct the virus’s entire genome, and then looked for distinctive mutations. They then compared their own findings to other viral genomes sequenced across the state and country.

The researchers found the earliest sample of CAL.20C in July in Los Angeles. They couldn’t find another sample until October. The variant became more common in November, reaching 36 percent of the samples from Cedars-Sinai in December and 50 percent last week.

Outside scientists are concerned about the new findings, but say it’s still unclear whether the California variant’s mutations are giving it an edge — or whether it’s showing up so much just by chance.

There might be a bias in the samples that scientists are looking at, for example. It’s also possible that CAL.20C happened to become more common thanks to some big super-spreader events.

“I think we need to be careful before concluding that any particular lineage is spreading due to a transmission advantage rather than because it happened to ride a wave caused by human behaviors,” said Dr. Worobey.

If it does turn out to be more contagious, Dr. Plummer said, then CAL.20C may turn out to be partly responsible for the recent crippling surge of cases in Southern California’s hospitals.

As the total number of cases increased, Dr. Plummer and her colleague found, the percentage of CAL.20C also went up. That would be consistent with the idea that this is a more contagious variant. “I mean, the numbers speak for themselves,” she said.

Dr. Chiu also noted that the variant was involved in a number of outbreaks where large numbers of people got infected. “There are worrisome signs that this variant may be highly transmissible,” he said.

Dr. Chiu and his colleagues are now growing the variant in cells to see how quickly they multiply compared with other variants. The researchers are also going to observe how well antibodies produced by vaccines work against CAL.20C.

Other scientists are also looking more closely at the rise in frequency of the variant in California. They’re searching for evidence that could determine whether biology or chance is to blame for its rise.

“That’s the work that needs to be done,” said Dr. Vail. “We just don’t have that information.”

$54M in funding coming for affordable housing at 8140 Van Nuys Boulevard

At its meeting yesterday, the Los Angeles City Council moved to authorize the release of just over $54 million in funding to developer Thomas Safran & Associates for the construction of a new affordable housing complex in ...

At its meeting yesterday, the Los Angeles City Council moved to authorize the release of just over $54 million in funding to developer Thomas Safran & Associates for the construction of a new affordable housing complex in Panorama City.

The Vista Terrace development, slated for a property located at 8130-8146 N. Van Nuys Boulevard, will consist of a four-story building featuring 102 studio, one-, and two-bedroom apartments - all of which would be restricted to rent by households earning no more than 50 percent of the area median income level, save for a manager's unit. Plans also call for 55 parking spaces to be located below the housing and amenities.


The money approved by the Council, including $40.1 million in tax-exempt bonds and $14.2 million in taxable funds, will cover a portion of the overall $80.8 million budget. The approximately $793,000 per-unit cost is attributed to inflation during the course of 2022, the abatement of asbestos and lead paint from the project site, land acquisition, and a required ventilation system.

HED is designing Vista Terrace, which is portrayed in renderings as a contemporary low-rise structure clad in stucco and accented with fiber cement panels. Proposed on-site amenities include a courtyard, a recreation room, and a community room.

Google Maps

The proposed project, which will abut a future stop on Metro's East San Fernando Valley light rail line down Van Nuys Boulevard, emerges as new developments quickly reshape the commercial core of Panorama City. Across the street, developer Izek Shomof reopened a long-vacant office tower as 194 units of housing in 2020, and later initiated plans for a 200-unit mixed-use building on an adjoining site to the south. Construction is also underway for a 180-unit affordable and supportive housing complex on a property located just west of Van Nuys Boulevard.

The largest changes in the work for the neighborhood would arrive at the site of the Panorama Mall, where Primestor is looking to build a mixed-use complex featuring high-rise buildings and up to 4.5 million square feet of housing, hotel, and commercial space.

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California is falling short of its food composting goals. Is a crackdown coming?

If tamping down Earth-warming greenhouse gases were as simple as separating coffee grounds, egg shells, leftover lasagna and other kitchen scraps from other waste, Californians certainly would be up to the task. Wouldn’t they?That’s the assumption behind a groundbreaking state law that took effect at the start of 2022: that the state’s residents and businesses can ...

If tamping down Earth-warming greenhouse gases were as simple as separating coffee grounds, egg shells, leftover lasagna and other kitchen scraps from other waste, Californians certainly would be up to the task. Wouldn’t they?

That’s the assumption behind a groundbreaking state law that took effect at the start of 2022: that the state’s residents and businesses can redirect at least three-fourths of the organic waste once destined for landfills, where it would decompose into methane, a super-potent gas that traps up to 84 times as much heat as carbon dioxide.

But after 18 months under the new law, California has made uneven progress toward that goal. While most cities and counties have complied with the law, 126 asked for more time. And many people who live in apartments and condominiums, in particular, have not been offered the green-bin option that would allow them to recycle compost-worthy items at home.

VIDEO | 02:17

What goes in the green bin in L.A.?

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Projecting that California would fall well short of its goal of removing 75% of green waste from landfills by 2025, the state’s Little Hoover Commission in June recommended a “temporary pause” in implementing the law. The good-government agency said more time is needed to fine-tune regulations, provide more funding for green waste facilities and launch a statewide education campaign.

But the Legislature has shown no signs of ordering a slowdown, and the top state official overseeing the reform said easing the pace would be counterproductive.

“What we really need is this cultural shift of moving away from a disposable lifestyle,” said Rachel Machi Wagoner, director of CalRecycle, “and really recognizing — from the manufacturer on through to the consumer at the point of use — the total value of any product and considering its next life.”

CalRecycle has worked cooperatively with local governments, which either haul green waste or contract with private companies to do the work. CalRecycle reports that most cities, counties and special districts are making adequate progress, but a review is underway to zero in on those that need to do more.

Wagoner said she remains confident that, once proper systems are in place, the environmentally minded state will happily redirect kitchen scraps and yard waste to separate containers.


Letters to the Editor

June 25, 2023

The organic material is hauled to facilities that either turn the material into compost, mulch or bio-gases that can help power natural gas vehicles.

“You don’t have to go out and buy an electric vehicle to fight climate change, though that is a great thing,” Wagoner said. “The single fastest and easiest thing that Californians can do is take a banana peel, or watermelon rinds and chicken bones, and put them in their green bin. Then they’ve already had a huge impact on climate change.”

If the Golden State is going to lead the world toward a better, safer future, our political and business leaders — and the rest of us — will have to work harder to rewrite the California narrative. Here’s how we can push the state forward.

Read our stories

Experts describe the benefits of compost as exponential. It not only cuts methane emissions but returns nutrients to the soil, allows the ground to hold precious moisture and abets the “sinking” of Earth-warming carbon dioxide into the soil.

Scientists estimate that 20% of the methane plaguing California comes from landfills. If the state can reach its organic waste reduction goals, it would have a benefit equivalent to taking 3 million cars off the road, according to CalRecycle.

Those potential improvements inspired the California Legislature in 2016 to approve Senate Bill 1383, requiring all residents and businesses to separate “green” waste. The law went into effect on Jan. 1 of last year.


Jan. 31, 2023

CalRecycle officials have stressed that they want to use friendly persuasion to get cities and counties to comply. But the law allows fines of up to $10,000 a day for those that fail. Local governments have the power, in turn, to fine residents and businesses that don’t segregate kitchen and yard waste from landfill-bound garbage. Penalties can range from $50 to $100 for a first offense and increase up to $500 for third and subsequent failures.

City officials have said they are loath to penalize residents and business owners. No fines have been levied so far — or at least none have been reported publicly.

The city of Los Angeles has OKd all those who live in single-family and small multi-family residences to dump their kitchen scraps in green bins picked up at curbside. That’s a total of 750,000 customers. More than 10,000 other commercial and multi-family customers have signed up for the service.

But that leaves 24,400 multifamily properties — with an untold number of apartments and condominium units — that have not signed up for curbside service.

World & Nation

Aug. 24, 2023


L.A. lags behind environmental leaders such as San Francisco but is ahead of many other cities. In Long Beach, for example, a spokeswoman said residential collection of organic waste is not expected to start until late this year or in early 2024.

“We don’t need anything else going in landfills that are overflowing already. The greenhouse gases are such a big problem,” said Rose, a thirty-something who lives in the San Fernando Valley community of North Hills.

But Rose said other residents in her 21-unit condo complex have resisted. Members of the homeowner’s association said they don’t want to pay the added fees — likely at least $10 a month per unit — that accompany the service.

“I also don’t get the sense that a lot of them are thinking that much about the environment or climate change,” said Rose, who used her middle name to avoid touching off a feud with her neighbors.

Community gardens and farmers markets provide other alternatives for people like Rose, who works for an environmental group.

L.A. Compost offers green waste dropoff at nine farmers markets in the city: Atwater Village, Central Avenue, Crenshaw, Highland Park, Larchmont Village, L.A. River, Silver Lake, Playa Vista and Wellington Square Farmers’ Market. Elysian Valley also has a food scrap collection site.

The nonprofit also offers small amounts of finished compost four times a year, and more regular compost for members of its Co-ops.

A better solution would be not creating green waste in the first place.

The state and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency encourage “source reduction” — growing, buying and consuming only what is needed, so food doesn’t get thrown out in the first place. California’s law also required that big providers, such as supermarkets and cafeterias, preserve surplus food for distribution to those in need, often via food banks. That resulted in 116,000 tons of unsold food being diverted in the first six months of last year, on track to meet the 2025 goal for saving surplus food.

“We’re feeding people. And that food never needs to be recycled,” Wagoner said. “That’s very exciting.”

Neighborhood Spotlight: Panorama City is slowly shaking off its postindustrial trauma

Although the San Fernando Valley is perhaps best known as the birthplace of car-centric suburban sprawl, it is also home to Panorama City, a meticulously planned community that from its start strove to create a balanced neighborhood consisting of residential, commercial and industrial land uses.In its scope, scale and ambition, Panorama City outstripped Greater L.A.’s prewar attempts at creating master-planned neighborhoods.It was the brainchild of Henry Kaiser, a shipbuilder keen to put his formidable industrial might, w...

Although the San Fernando Valley is perhaps best known as the birthplace of car-centric suburban sprawl, it is also home to Panorama City, a meticulously planned community that from its start strove to create a balanced neighborhood consisting of residential, commercial and industrial land uses.

In its scope, scale and ambition, Panorama City outstripped Greater L.A.’s prewar attempts at creating master-planned neighborhoods.

It was the brainchild of Henry Kaiser, a shipbuilder keen to put his formidable industrial might, which had manufactured the famous Liberty cargo ships that transported U.S. goods around the world during World War II, to equally lucrative peacetime uses.


Along for the ride was Fritz Burns, a developer who had previously teamed with Kaiser to build a neighborhood of manufactured homes in Westchester. Burns saw the untapped potential of the semirural San Fernando Valley as a propitious locale in which to house the massive influx of new Angelenos thronging L.A. in the aftermath of the war.

Together they bought 400 acres of the former Panorama Ranch and engaged the architectural firm of Wurdeman & Becket — whose notable postwar works include General Petroleum’s downtown offices, Museum Square and the Pasadena Bullock’s — to design the community.

The plans for the new “city” called for 4,000 factory-built homes and 30 acres of commercial development. Propitiously located near an emerging manufacturing hub anchored by GM’s new plant in Van Nuys, Panorama City was an instant hit with former GIs and their families.

The neighborhood thrived for decades until the manufacturing downturn of the 1980s and 1990s, which saw the GM plant, a Carnation food laboratory and the Schlitz brewery, among others, shutter for good, putting thousands out of work and sending many of them fleeing the city for greener pastures.

Immigrants from across Latin America found a home in Panorama City during this era, drawn by its central San Fernando Valley location and affordable home prices.

More than 25 years later the lost high-paying manufacturing jobs have not been replaced, and Panorama City struggles to compete with other areas of the Valley in attracting investment and employment opportunities for its residents.


Neighborhood highlights

Affordable Valley living: Affordability is relative, but Panorama City offers home buyers the opportunity to purchase a sturdy postwar home for less than $500,000.

Green shoots: The planned mixed-use redevelopment of the old Montgomery Ward and other long-fallow commercial sites is slowly bringing new investment and jobs to the community.

The heart of the Valley: Panorama City is centrally located, with access to freeways, Metrolink, and Hollywood Burbank Airport, and Metro is now considering building a rail line through the area.

Neighborhood challenge

Postindustrial growing pains: Not unlike an old factory town struggling to reinvent itself when the plant closes down, Panorama City is still trying to find its economic footing.

Expert insight

“Panorama City is one of the densest areas in the Valley,” said Joseph Fernandez, a real estate agent with eight years of experience in the area. “But that’s a good thing.”

He said there are always plenty of houses on the market, and single-family homes and apartments offer affordable options for incoming residents — many of whom are young.

“You’ll find a lot of postwar builds, but lately there’s been a focus on adding more mixed-use developments,” Fernandez said.

The biggest project, a 9-acre development called the Icon at Panorama City, recently received the green light from the City Council. With a $150-million budget, it plans to add 60,000 square feet of commercial space and 675 residential units.

Market snapshot

In the 91402 ZIP Code, based on 15 sales, the median sales price for single-family homes in April was $500,000, up 16.3% year over year, according to CoreLogic.

Report card

There are nine public schools in Panorama City. Primary Academy for Success scored the highest on the 2013 Academic Performance Index, at 827.

Two others scored above 800: Ranchito Avenue Elementary, at 810 and Burton Street Elementary, at 807. The area’s high school, Panorama High, scored 680.

Times staff writer Jack Flemming contributed to this report.

Renters dominate California — but they are struggling to survive

Evelyn Arceo holds down a full-time job as a baker at Universal Studios Hollywood, earning $19 an hour. But even when she gets a few hours of overtime at the theme park, the single mother of four can barely afford the rent of her one-bedroom apartment in Panorama City.On her salary, buying a home is out of the question.Already, her monthly rent of $1,300 is “just too expensive at this point,” Arceo said, with late fees of $40 to $50 compounding her financial plight. “I don’t think I’ve ever been on...

Evelyn Arceo holds down a full-time job as a baker at Universal Studios Hollywood, earning $19 an hour. But even when she gets a few hours of overtime at the theme park, the single mother of four can barely afford the rent of her one-bedroom apartment in Panorama City.

On her salary, buying a home is out of the question.

Already, her monthly rent of $1,300 is “just too expensive at this point,” Arceo said, with late fees of $40 to $50 compounding her financial plight. “I don’t think I’ve ever been on time on my rent.”

Arceo’s situation is common in California, which is among the nation’s leaders in renter-occupied housing. In the Golden State, 45.5% of housing units were occupied by renters in 2020, a small increase from the 44% rate in 2010, according to newly released data by the U.S. Census Bureau.


California was second only to New York, where 49.7% of the housing units are renter occupied. The District of Columbia was an outlier, at 61.7%.

Nationwide, the rate of renter-occupied housing units — 36.9% — is at its highest point since 1970.

“The growth of renter-occupied units continues to outpace the growth of owner-occupied units,” the Census Bureau said in a statement.

The states with the lowest renter rate — and therefore the highest owner-occupied rates — were West Virginia, at 27.4%, and Maine, at 28.9%.

Hans Johnson, a demographer at the Public Policy Institute of California, said the new data were “not shocking.” California’s high rate of renters can be attributed mostly to “the high cost of housing,” Johnson said.

The annual income needed to buy a home in Los Angeles rose last year beyond $220,000, according to a study by the residential real estate firm Redfin. With higher mortgage interest rates and inflation cutting into household incomes, the ability to own a home is increasingly out of reach for residents in Los Angeles, where the median annual household income in 2020 was just over $65,000.


High housing costs are also a factor in putting California near the bottom in another category: the rate of single-occupancy households.

New data from the Census Bureau show that more than a quarter of all households in America — 27.6% — had just one occupant in 2020. The rate of solo occupancy is more than three times the recorded level in 1940, 7.7%.

A Times analysis found that California ranked 49th of the 50 states in the rate of single-occupant dwellings, with 23% of households occupied by just one person — a rate that has remained steady for about 20 years. Only Utah had a lower rate, at 20%.

North Dakota had the highest rate of single occupancy, 32.8%. The District of Columbia’s rate was an astronomical 43.7%.

In states other than California, “where rents are much lower or the opportunity to buy a house is better, it’s not as difficult for a single worker” to live alone, Johnson said.

Another factor is California having a “larger immigrant population than in the rest of the U.S.,” according to Johnson. “It is more common for immigrant families to live in multigenerational households,” he said.

Utah has the lowest rate of single-occupant homes because the state has a high marriage rate and an uncommonly high number of children per household, Johnson said. He attributed those trends partially to Mormon residents, who make up well over half of the state’s population.

The increase in people living alone coincides with higher social isolation, a worrying trend outlined by U.S. Surgeon Gen. Dr. Vivek Murthy in a recent report.

“Our epidemic of loneliness and isolation has been an underappreciated public health crisis that has harmed individual and societal health. Our relationships are a source of healing and well-being hiding in plain sight — one that can help us live healthier, more fulfilled and more productive lives,” Murthy said.


May 24, 2023

Such isolation increases the risk of premature death by more than 60% and includes higher risks of heart disease, stroke and dementia, according to the report.

To counter the increased isolation, “communities must design environments that promote connection,” the report said, and “invest in institutions that bring people together.”

While more Americans are living alone, Arceo, 32, worries about providing her children a home where they can enjoy some space for themselves.

With a 14-year-old son in the throes of adolescence and a 12-year-old son entering that stage, “they need their privacy,” she said.

“It’s insane to say that I work for this company and can’t afford to give my kids a proper living,” Arceo said.

She has worked as a baker for the theme park for eight years, but Arceo notes that “I was homeless for the first year working at Universal,” when she was forced to live with her then-three children in hotels, friends’ homes, wherever they could.

With the bakery short-staffed, she has recently picked up “at least an hour of overtime a day,” but it hasn’t been enough, forcing her “to choose whether I pay my car insurance or my rent,” she said.


May 4, 2023

Johnson, the demographer, pointed to possible hope on the horizon. He noted that California has reported a steady decline in population since 2020 — starting at the beginning of the pandemic. The drop has coincided with the construction of more housing, primarily in the state’s suburbs and exurbs.

“If California continues to lose people and build housing, at some point it should make a dent in the housing deficit.”

A construction surge is not likely to make enough of a difference to change the conditions for low-wage workers like Arceo.

Looking to the future, she doesn’t see many options.

“I can’t afford to move,” she said.


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