Four days in Orange County to live in an Embassy Suites, get caught up on reading and writing, take advantage of the free cocktail hour every day, and drive around and look. My wife is attending her annual Chamber Music weekend with three dozen other invitees, and I tagged along. This area, Newport, was my home for the better part of two decades, but that was the better part of two decades ago. I return frequently, but they are trips with purpose and time constraints. I’ve had time the last three days to check out every community I was very familiar with in the ‘80s and ‘90s. I can say one thing for sure. There’s a hell of lot more people…everywhere.
I did some number crunching and realize why I feel like an alien down here.
I also compared my other long time home, Indiana for 38 years, and why it doesn’t change much.
When I left Indiana in 1980, there were 5, 490,000 Hoosiers living there. There were 121,000 people in my county. Now there are 6 and ½ million (increase of one million) and the county is up to 177,500. (56,000 new bodies)
Now for the staggering figures of my new adopted homeland. When I moved to California, the population was 23, 668,000. Today it is over 38 million. That means since I moved here, three states the size of Indiana followed me. Orange County had 1,930,000 people and now is over 3 million.
The Freeways used to have six or eight lanes. Now there are 12 and 16 lanes and more expansion currently happening.
Almost every older strip mall is gone and a new strip mall has replaced it.