Los Angeles lies in a basin
in Southern California
, adjacent to the Pacific Ocean
, with mountains
as high as 10,000 feet (3,000 m), and deserts
. The city, which covers about 469 square miles (1,210 km2
is the seat
of Los Angeles County
, the most populous county
in the United States. The Los Angeles metropolitan area
) is home to a population of 13.1 million, making it the second-largest metropolitan area
in the nation after that of New York
. Greater Los Angeles
includes metro Los Angeles as well as the Inland Empire
and Ventura County
It is the second most populous U.S. combined statistical area
, also after New York, with a 2015 estimate of 18.7 million people.
Home to the Chumash
, the area that became Los Angeles was claimed by Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo
in 1542. The city was founded on September 4, 1781, under Spanish governor Felipe de Neve
, on the village of Yaanga
It became a part of Mexico
in 1821 following the Mexican War of Independence
. In 1848, at the end of the Mexican–American War
, Los Angeles and the rest of California were purchased as part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
, and thus became part of the United States. Los Angeles was incorporated
as a municipality on April 4, 1850, five months before California achieved statehood
. The discovery of oil in the 1890s brought rapid growth to the city.
The city was further expanded with the completion of the Los Angeles Aqueduct
in 1913, which delivers water from Eastern California
The Los Angeles coastal area was settled by the Tongva
) and Chumash tribes
. Los Angeles would eventually be founded on the village of iyáangẚ
(written "Yang-na" by the Spanish), meaning "poison oak
In 1771, Franciscan friar Junípero Serra
directed the building of the Mission San Gabriel Arcángel
, the first mission
in the area.
On September 4, 1781, a group of forty-four settlers known as "Los Pobladores
" founded the pueblo they called El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles
, 'The Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels'.[b]
The present-day city has the largest Roman Catholic archdiocese
in the United States. Two-thirds of the Mexican or (New Spain
) settlers were mestizo
, a mixture of African, indigenous and European ancestry.
The settlement remained a small ranch town for decades, but by 1820, the population had increased to about 650 residents.
Today, the pueblo is commemorated in the historic district of Los Angeles Pueblo Plaza
and Olvera Street
, the oldest part of Los Angeles.
achieved its independence from the Spanish Empire in 1821, and the pueblo continued as a part of Mexico
. During Mexican rule, Governor Pío Pico
made Los Angeles Alta California
's regional capital.
1847 to present
with the completion of the transcontinental Southern Pacific
line from New Orleans
to Los Angeles in 1876 and the Santa Fe Railroad
in 1885. Petroleum
was discovered in the city and surrounding area in 1892, and by 1923, the discoveries had helped California become the country's largest oil producer, accounting for about one-quarter of the world's petroleum output.
By 1900, the population had grown to more than 102,000,
putting pressure on the city's water supply
The completion of the Los Angeles Aqueduct
in 1913, under the supervision of William Mulholland
, ensured the continued growth of the city.
Because of clauses in the city's charter that prevented the City of Los Angeles from selling or providing water from the aqueduct to any area outside its borders, many adjacent cities and communities felt compelled to annex themselves into Los Angeles.
Los Angeles created the first municipal zoning
ordinance in the United States. On September 14, 1908, the Los Angeles City Council
promulgated residential and industrial land use zones. The new ordinance established three residential zones of a single type, where industrial uses were prohibited. The proscriptions included barns, lumber yards, and any industrial land use employing machine-powered equipment. These laws were enforced against industrial properties after the fact. These prohibitions were in addition to existing activities that were already regulated as nuisances. These included explosives warehousing, gas works, oil drilling, slaughterhouses, and tanneries
. Los Angeles City Council also designated seven industrial zones within the city. However, between 1908 and 1915, Los Angeles City Council created various exceptions to the broad proscriptions that applied to these three residential zones, and as a consequence, some industrial uses emerged within them. There are two differences between the 1908 Residence District Ordinance and later zoning laws in the United States. First, the 1908 laws did not establish a comprehensive zoning map as the 1916 New York City Zoning Ordinance did. Second, the residential zones did not distinguish types of housing; they treated apartments, hotels, and detached-single-family housing equally.
, looking north from 6th Street, c. 1913. Notable sites include Central Park (today's Pershing Square)
(the trees, lower left), Hotel Portsmouth (lower right), and the Hill Street tunnel (at end of street).
In 1910, Hollywood
merged into Los Angeles, with 10 movie companies already operating in the city at the time. By 1921, more than 80 percent of the world's film industry was concentrated in L.A.
The money generated by the industry kept the city insulated from much of the economic loss suffered by the rest of the country during the Great Depression
By 1930, the population surpassed one million.
In 1932, the city hosted the Summer Olympics
During World War II
, Los Angeles was a major center of wartime manufacturing, such as shipbuilding and aircraft. Calship
built hundreds of Liberty Ships
and Victory Ships
on Terminal Island, and the Los Angeles area was the headquarters of six of the country's major aircraft manufacturers (Douglas Aircraft Company
, Hughes Aircraft
, North American Aviation
, Northrop Corporation
, and Vultee
). During the war, more aircraft were produced in one year than in all the pre-war years since the Wright brothers flew the first airplane in 1903, combined. Manufacturing in Los Angeles skyrocketed, and as William S. Knudsen
, of the National Defense Advisory Commission put it, "We won because we smothered the enemy in an avalanche of production, the like of which he had never seen, nor dreamed possible."
In the 1930s–1940s, Los Angeles county was the national leader in agriculture.
during a welcome home parade in Los Angeles, June 9, 1945
Previous to the 1950s, Los Angeles' name had multiple pronunciations, but the soft "G" pronunciation is universal today. Some early movies or video shows it pronounced with a hard "G" (/
). Sam Yorty
was one of the last public figures who still used the hard "G" pronunciation.
Racial tensions led to the Watts riots
in 1965, resulting in 34 deaths and over 1,000 injuries.
In 1994, the 6.7 Northridge earthquake
shook the city, causing $12.5 billion in damage and 72 deaths.
The century ended with the Rampart scandal
, one of the most extensive documented cases of police misconduct in American history.
In 2002, Mayor James Hahn
led the campaign against secession, resulting in voters defeating efforts by the San Fernando Valley and Hollywood to secede from the city.
Satellite photo shows the city of Los Angeles
The city of Los Angeles covers a total area of 502.7 square miles (1,302 km2
), comprising 468.7 square miles (1,214 km2
) of land and 34.0 square miles (88 km2
) of water.
The city extends for 44 miles (71 km) north-south and for 29 miles (47 km) east-west. The perimeter of the city is 342 miles (550 km).
Surrounding the city are much higher mountains. Immediately to the north lie the San Gabriel Mountains
, which is a popular recreation area for Angelenos. Its high point is Mount San Antonio
, locally known as Mount Baldy, which reaches 10,064 feet (3,068 m). Further afield, the highest point in the Greater Los Angeles area is San Gorgonio Mountain
, with a height of 11,503 feet (3,506 m).
Oldest palm tree in Los Angeles, 2019
Los Angeles is rich in native plant species partly because of its diversity of habitats, including beaches, wetlands
, and mountains. The most prevalent plant communities are coastal sage scrub
shrubland, and riparian woodland
Native plants include: the California poppy
, matilija poppy
, Coast Live Oak
and Giant Wildrye
. Many of these native species, such as the Los Angeles sunflower
, have become so rare as to be considered endangered. Although it is not native to the area, the official tree of Los Angeles is the Coral Tree (Erythrina caffra
and the official flower of Los Angeles is the Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae
).Mexican Fan Palms
, Canary Island Palms
, Queen Palms
, Date Palms
, and California Fan Palms
are common in the Los Angeles area, although only the last is native to California, though still not native to the City of Los Angeles.
Los Angeles is subject to earthquakes because of its location on the Pacific Ring of Fire
. The geologic instability has produced numerous faults
, which cause approximately 10,000 earthquakes
annually in Southern California, though most of them are too small to be felt.
The strike-slip San Andreas Fault
system, which sits at the boundary between the Pacific Plate
and the North American Plate
, passes through the Los Angeles metropolitan area. The segment of the fault passing through Southern California experiences a major earthquake roughly every 110 to 140 years, and seismologists have warned about the next "big one", as the last major earthquake was the 1857 Fort Tejon earthquake
The Los Angeles basin and metropolitan area are also at risk from blind thrust earthquakes
Major earthquakes that have hit the Los Angeles area include the 1933 Long Beach
, 1971 San Fernando
, 1987 Whittier Narrows
, and the 1994 Northridge
events. All but a few are of low intensity and are not felt. The USGS has released the UCERF California earthquake forecast
, which models earthquake occurrence in California. Parts of the city are also vulnerable to tsunamis
; harbor areas were damaged by waves from Aleutian Islands earthquake
in 1946, Valdivia earthquake
in 1960, Alaska earthquake
in 1964, Chile earthquake
in 2010 and Japan earthquake
The city is divided into many different districts and neighborhoods,
some of which were incorporated cities that merged with Los Angeles.
These neighborhoods were developed piecemeal, and are well-defined enough that the city has signage marking nearly all of them.
The city's street patterns generally follow a grid plan
, with uniform block lengths and occasional roads that cut across blocks. However, this is complicated by rugged terrain, which has necessitated having different grids for each of the valleys that Los Angeles covers. Major streets are designed to move large volumes of traffic through many parts of the city, many of which are extremely long; Sepulveda Boulevard
is 43 miles (69 km) long, while Foothill Boulevard
is over 60 miles (97 km) long, reaching as far east as San Bernardino. Drivers in Los Angeles suffer from one of the worst rush hour periods in the world, according to an annual traffic index by navigation system maker, TomTom
. LA drivers spend an additional 92 hours in traffic each year. During the peak rush hour, there is 80% congestion, according to the index.
Los Angeles is often characterized by the presence of low-rise
buildings, in contrast to New York City
. Outside of a few centers such as Downtown
, Warner Center
, Century City
, Miracle Mile
, and Westwood
, skyscrapers and high-rise buildings are not common in Los Angeles. The few skyscrapers built outside of those areas often stand out above the rest of the surrounding landscape. Most construction is done in separate units, rather than wall-to-wall
. That being said, Downtown Los Angeles itself has many buildings over 30 stories, with fourteen over 50 stories, and two over 70 stories, the tallest of which is the Wilshire Grand Center
. Also, Los Angeles is increasingly becoming a city of apartments rather than single-family dwellings, especially in the dense inner city and Westside
Important landmarks in Los Angeles include the Hollywood Sign
, Walt Disney Concert Hall
, Capitol Records Building
, the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels
, Angels Flight
, Grauman's Chinese Theatre
, Dolby Theatre
, Griffith Observatory
, Getty Center
, Getty Villa
, Stahl House
, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
, L.A. Live
, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art
, the Venice Canal Historic District
and boardwalk, Theme Building
, Bradbury Building
, U.S. Bank Tower
, Wilshire Grand Center
, Hollywood Boulevard
, Los Angeles City Hall
, Hollywood Bowl
, Battleship USS Iowa
, Watts Towers
, Staples Center
, Dodger Stadium
, and Olvera Street
Los Angeles has a Mediterranean climate
on the coast and most of downtown, Csa
near the metropolitan region to the west), and receives just enough annual precipitation to avoid being classified as a semi-arid climate
Daytime temperatures are generally temperate all year round. In winter, they average around 68 °F (20 °C) giving it a tropical
feel although it is a few degrees too cool to be a true tropical climate on average due to cool night temperatures.
Los Angeles has plenty of sunshine throughout the year, with an average of only 35 days with measurable precipitation annually.
Temperatures in the coastal basin exceed 90 °F (32 °C) on a dozen or so days in the year, from one day a month in April, May, June and November to three days a month in July, August, October and to five days in September.
Temperatures in the San Fernando and San Gabriel Valleys are considerably warmer. Temperatures are subject to substantial daily swings; in inland areas the difference between the average daily low and the average daily high is over 30 °F (17 °C).
The average annual temperature of the sea is 63 °F (17 °C), from 58 °F (14 °C) in January to 68 °F (20 °C) in August.
Hours of sunshine total more than 3,000 per year, from an average of 7 hours of sunshine per day in December to an average of 12 in July.
A very clear evening view of Mount Lee
and the Hollywood Sign from the Griffith Observatory lawn, one day after a rain
The Los Angeles area is also subject to phenomena typical of a microclimate
, causing extreme variations in temperature in close physical proximity to each other. For example, the average July maximum temperature at the Santa Monica Pier
is 70 °F (21 °C) whereas it is 95 °F (35 °C) in Canoga Park, 15 miles (24 km) away.
The city, like much of the southern California coast, is subject to a late spring/early summer weather phenomenon called "June Gloom
". This involves overcast or foggy skies in the morning that yield to sun by early afternoon.
Downtown Los Angeles averages 14.93 in (379 mm) of precipitation annually, mainly occurring between November and March,
generally in the form of moderate rain showers, but sometimes as heavy rainfall during winter storms. Rainfall is usually higher in the hills and coastal slopes of the mountains because of orographic
uplift. Summer days are usually rainless. Rarely, an incursion of moist air from the south or east can bring brief thunderstorms in late summer, especially to the mountains. The coast gets slightly less rainfall, while the inland and mountain areas get considerably more. Years of average rainfall are rare. The usual pattern is a year-to-year variability, with a short string of dry years of 5–10 in (130–250 mm) rainfall, followed by one or two wet years with more than 20 in (510 mm).
Wet years are usually associated with warm water El Niño
conditions in the Pacific, dry years with cooler water La Niña
episodes. A series of rainy days can bring floods to the lowlands and mudslides to the hills, especially after wildfires
have denuded the slopes.
Both freezing temperatures and snowfall are extremely rare in the city basin and along the coast, with the last occurrence of a 32 °F (0 °C) reading at the downtown station being January 29, 1979;
freezing temperatures occur nearly every year in valley locations while the mountains within city limits typically receive snowfall every winter. The greatest snowfall recorded in downtown Los Angeles was 2.0 inches (5 cm) on January 15, 1932.
While the most recent snowfall occurred in February 2019, the first snowfall since 1962,
with snow falling in areas adjacent to Los Angeles as recently as January 2021.
At the official downtown station, the highest recorded temperature is 113 °F (45 °C) on September 27, 2010,
while the lowest is 28 °F (−2 °C),
on January 4, 1949.
Within the City of Los Angeles, the highest temperature ever officially recorded is 121 °F (49 °C), on September 6, 2020, at the weather station at Pierce College
in the San Fernando Valley
neighborhood of Woodland Hills
During autumn and winter, Santa Ana winds
sometimes bring much warmer and drier conditions to Los Angeles, and raise wildfire risk.
Hottest and coldest, wettest and driest averages for a month (°F/inch and °C/mm), 1895–2019
The city is often covered in smog, as in this December 2005 image.
A Gabrielino settlement in the area was called iyáangẚ
by the Spanish), which has been translated as "poison oak place".Yang-na
has also been translated as "the valley of smoke".
Owing to geography, heavy reliance on automobiles, and the Los Angeles/Long Beach port complex, Los Angeles suffers from air pollution
in the form of smog
. The Los Angeles Basin
and the San Fernando Valley
are susceptible to atmospheric inversion
, which holds in the exhausts from road vehicles, airplanes, locomotives, shipping, manufacturing, and other sources.
The percentage of small particle pollution (the kind that penetrates into the lungs) coming from vehicles in the city can get as high as 55 percent.
The smog season lasts from approximately May to October.
While other large cities rely on rain to clear smog, Los Angeles gets only 15 inches (380 mm) of rain each year: pollution accumulates over many consecutive days. Issues of air quality in Los Angeles and other major cities led to the passage of early national environmental legislation, including the Clean Air Act
. When the act was passed, California was unable to create a State Implementation Plan
that would enable it to meet the new air quality standards, largely because of the level of pollution in Los Angeles generated by older vehicles.
More recently, the state of California has led the nation in working to limit pollution by mandating low-emission vehicles
. Smog is expected to continue to drop in the coming years because of aggressive steps to reduce it, which include electric
cars, improvements in mass transit
, and other measures.
The number of Stage 1 smog alerts in Los Angeles has declined from over 100 per year in the 1970s to almost zero in the new millennium.
Despite improvement, the 2006 and 2007 annual reports of the American Lung Association
ranked the city as the most polluted in the country with short-term particle pollution and year-round particle pollution.
In 2008, the city was ranked the second most polluted and again had the highest year-round particulate pollution.
The city met its goal of providing 20 percent of the city's power from renewable sources in 2010.
The American Lung Association's 2013 survey ranks the metro area as having the nation's worst smog, and fourth in both short-term and year-round pollution amounts.
Los Angeles is also home to the nation's largest urban oil field
. There are more than 700 active oil wells within 1,500 feet of homes, churches, schools and hospitals in the city, a situation about which the EPA
has voiced serious concerns.
The 2010 United States Census
reported Los Angeles had a population of 3,792,621.
The population density was 8,092.3 people per square mile (2,913.0/km2
). The age distribution was 874,525 people (23.1%) under 18, 434,478 people (11.5%) from 18 to 24, 1,209,367 people (31.9%) from 25 to 44, 877,555 people (23.1%) from 45 to 64, and 396,696 people (10.5%) who were 65 or older.
The median age was 34.1 years. For every 100 females, there were 99.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.6 males.
There were 1,413,995 housing units—up from 1,298,350 during 2005–2009
—at an average density of 2,812.8 households per square mile (1,086.0/km2
), of which 503,863 (38.2%) were owner-occupied, and 814,305 (61.8%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 2.1%; the rental vacancy rate was 6.1%. 1,535,444 people (40.5% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 2,172,576 people (57.3%) lived in rental housing units.
Percentage of households with incomes above $150k across LA County census tracts
According to the 2010 United States Census, Los Angeles had a median household income of $49,497, with 22.0% of the population living below the federal poverty line.
Race and ethnicity
Map of racial and ethnic distribution in Los Angeles, 2010 U.S. Census. Each dot is 25 people: White, Black, Asian, Hispanic or Other (yellow)
According to the 2010 Census, the racial makeup of Los Angeles included: 1,888,158 Whites
(49.8%), 365,118 African Americans
(9.6%), 28,215 Native Americans
(0.7%), 426,959 Asians
(11.3%), 5,577 Pacific Islanders
(0.1%), 902,959 from other races
(23.8%), and 175,635 (4.6%) from two or more races
. Hispanics or Latinos
of any race were 1,838,822 persons (48.5%). Los Angeles is home to people from more than 140 countries speaking 224 different identified languages. Ethnic enclaves
, Historic Filipinotown
, Little Armenia
, Little Ethiopia
, Little Tokyo
, Little Bangladesh
, and Thai Town
provide examples of the polyglot
character of Los Angeles.
were 28.7% of the population in 2010,
compared to 86.3% in 1940.
The majority of the Non-Hispanic white population is living in areas along the Pacific coast as well as in neighborhoods near and on the Santa Monica Mountains from the Pacific Palisades
to Los Feliz
ancestry make up the largest ethnic group of Hispanics at 31.9% of the city's population, followed by those of Salvadoran
(6.0%) and Guatemalan
(3.6%) heritage. The Hispanic population has a long established Mexican-American and Central American community and is spread well-nigh throughout the entire city of Los Angeles and its metropolitan area. It is most heavily concentrated in regions around Downtown as East Los Angeles
, Northeast Los Angeles
. Furthermore, a vast majority of residents in neighborhoods in eastern South Los Angeles
are of Hispanic origin.
The largest Asian ethnic groups are Filipinos
(3.2%) and Koreans
(2.9%), which have their own established ethnic enclaves—Koreatown
in the Wilshire Center and Historic Filipinotown
people, which make up 1.8% of Los Angeles's population, reside mostly outside of Los Angeles city limits and rather in the San Gabriel Valley
of eastern Los Angeles County, but make a sizable presence in the city, notably in Chinatown
. Chinatown and Thaitown
are also home to many Thais
, which make up 0.3% and 0.1% of Los Angeles's population, respectively. The Japanese
comprise 0.9% of LA's population and have an established Little Tokyo
in the city's downtown, and another significant community of Japanese Americans is in the Sawtelle
district of West Los Angeles. Vietnamese
make up 0.5% of Los Angeles's population. Indians
make up 0.9% of the city's population.
In 2011, the once common, but ultimately lapsed, custom of conducting a procession and mass in honor of Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles, in commemoration of the founding of the City of Los Angeles in 1781, was revived by the Queen of Angels Foundation
and its founder Mark Albert, with the support of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles as well as several civic leaders.
The recently revived custom is a continuation of the original processions and masses that commenced on the first anniversary of the founding of Los Angeles in 1782 and continued for nearly a century thereafter.
With 621,000 Jews
in the metropolitan area, the region has the second-largest population of Jews in the United States.
Many of Los Angeles's Jews now live on the Westside
and in the San Fernando Valley
, though Boyle Heights
once had a large Jewish population prior to World War II due to restrictive housing covenants. Major Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods include Hancock Park
, and Valley Village
, while Jewish Israelis are well represented in the Encino
neighborhoods, and Persian Jews
in Beverly Hills
. Many varieties of Judaism are represented in the greater Los Angeles area, including Reform
, and Reconstructionist
. The Breed Street Shul
in East Los Angeles
, built in 1923, was the largest synagogue west of Chicago in its early decades; it is no longer in daily use as a synagogue and is being converted to a museum and community center.
The Kabbalah Centre
also has a presence in the city.
Because of Los Angeles's large multi-ethnic population, a wide variety of faiths are practiced, including Buddhism
, various Eastern Orthodox churches
, Chinese folk religion
and countless others. Immigrants from Asia for example, have formed a number of significant Buddhist
congregations making the city home to the greatest variety of Buddhists in the world. The first Buddhist joss house
was founded in the city in 1875. Atheism
and other secular
beliefs are also common, as the city is the largest in the Western U.S. Unchurched Belt
Employment by industry in Los Angeles County (2015)
Kaiser Sunset Hospital in Los Angeles. Kaiser Permanente
was the largest non-government employer in Los Angeles County in 2018.
The economy of Los Angeles is driven by international trade, entertainment (television, motion pictures, video games, music recording, and production), aerospace, technology, petroleum, fashion, apparel, and tourism.
Other significant industries include finance, telecommunications, law, healthcare, and transportation. In the 2017 Global Financial Centres Index
, Los Angeles was ranked as having the 19th most competitive financial center in the world, and sixth most competitive in the United States (after New York City
, San Francisco
, and Washington, D.C.
Los Angeles is the largest manufacturing center in the United States.
The contiguous ports of Los Angeles
and Long Beach
together comprise the busiest port in the United States by some measures and the fifth-busiest port in the world, vital to trade within the Pacific Rim
The Department of Cannabis Regulation enforces cannabis legislation after the legalization of the sale and distribution of cannabis
As of October 2019, more than 300 existing cannabis businesses (both retailers and their suppliers) have been granted approval to operate in what is considered the nation's largest market.
Los Angeles is often billed as the "Creative Capital of the World" because one in every six of its residents works in a creative industry
and there are more artists, writers, filmmakers, actors, dancers and musicians living and working in Los Angeles than any other city at any other time in history.
Movies and the performing arts
Museums and galleries
Los Angeles is the second-largest city in the United States but hosted no NFL team between 1995 and 2015. At one time, the Los Angeles area hosted two NFL teams: the Rams
and the Raiders
. Both left the city in 1995, with the Rams moving to St. Louis
, and the Raiders moving back to their original home of Oakland
. After 21 seasons in St. Louis, on January 12, 2016, the NFL announced the Rams would be moving back to Los Angeles for the 2016 NFL season
with its home games played at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
for four seasons.
Prior to 1995, the Rams played their home games in the Coliseum from 1946 to 1979 which made them the first professional sports team to play in Los Angeles, and then moved to Anaheim Stadium
from 1980 until 1994. The San Diego Chargers
announced on January 12, 2017, that they would also relocate back to Los Angeles (the first since its inaugural season in 1960) and become the Los Angeles Chargers
beginning in the 2017 NFL season
and played at Dignity Health Sports Park
in Carson, California
for three seasons. The Rams and the Chargers would soon move to the newly built SoFi Stadium
, located in nearby Inglewood
during the 2020 season.
Los Angeles is one of six North American cities to have won championships in all five of its major leagues (MLB, NFL, NHL, NBA and MLS), having completed the feat with the Kings' 2012 Stanley Cup title
The Tom Bradley Room, making up the whole interior of L.A. City Hall's 27th floor
The charter of the City of Los Angeles ratified by voters in 1999 created a system of advisory neighborhood councils that would represent the diversity of stakeholders, defined as those who live, work or own property in the neighborhood. The neighborhood councils are relatively autonomous and spontaneous in that they identify their own boundaries, establish their own bylaws, and elect their own officers. There are about 90 neighborhood councils.
Residents of Los Angeles elect supervisors
for the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th supervisorial districts.
Federal and state representation
on May Day
2006 in front of the new Caltrans District 7 Headquarters
In 1992, the city of Los Angeles recorded 1,092 murders.
Los Angeles experienced a significant decline in crime in the 1990s and late 2000s and reached a 50-year low in 2009 with 314 homicides.
This is a rate of 7.85 per 100,000 population—a major decrease from 1980 when a homicide rate of 34.2 per 100,000 was reported.
This included 15 officer-involved shootings. One shooting led to the death of a SWAT
team member, Randal Simmons, the first in LAPD's history.
Los Angeles in the year of 2013 totaled 251 murders, a decrease of 16 percent from the previous year. Police speculate the drop resulted from a number of factors, including young people spending more time online.
In 2015, it was revealed that the LAPD had been under-reporting crime for eight years, making the crime rate in the city appear much lower than it really is.
According to the Los Angeles Police Department
, the city is home to 45,000 gang members, organized into 450 gangs.
Among them are the Crips
, which are both African American street gangs that originated in the South Los Angeles
region. Latino street gangs such as the Sureños
, a Mexican American street gang, and Mara Salvatrucha
, which has mainly members of Salvadoran
descent, all originated in Los Angeles. This has led to the city being referred to as the "Gang Capital of America".
Colleges and universities
Private colleges in the city include:
The community college system consists of nine campuses governed by the trustees of the Los Angeles Community College District:
There are numerous additional colleges and universities outside the city limits in the Greater Los Angeles area, including the Claremont Colleges
consortium, which includes the most selective liberal arts colleges in the U.S., and the California Institute of Technology
(Caltech), one of the top STEM-focused research institutions in the world.
Schools and libraries
Los Angeles Unified School District
serves almost all of the city of Los Angeles, as well as several surrounding communities, with a student population around 800,000.
After Proposition 13
was approved in 1978, urban school districts had considerable trouble with funding. LAUSD has become known for its underfunded, overcrowded and poorly maintained campuses, although its 162 Magnet schools
help compete with local private schools.
Former Los Angeles Times headquarters in the Civic Center
The Los Angeles metro area is the second-largest broadcast designated market area
in the U.S. (after New York
) with 5,431,140 homes (4.956% of the U.S.), which is served by a wide variety of local AM
radio and television
stations. Los Angeles and New York City are the only two media markets to have seven VHF
allocations assigned to them.
As part of the region's aforementioned creative industry, the Big Four major broadcast television networks, ABC
, and NBC
, all have production facilities and offices throughout various areas of Los Angeles. All four major broadcast television networks, plus major Spanish-language networks Telemundo
, also own and operate stations that both serve the Los Angeles market and serve as each network's West Coast flagship station
: ABC's KABC-TV
(Channel 7), CBS's KCBS-TV
(Channel 2), Fox's KTTV
-TV (Channel 11), NBC's KNBC
-TV (Channel 4), MyNetworkTV's KCOP
-TV (Channel 13), Telemundo's KVEA
-TV (Channel 52), and Univision's KMEX-TV
(Channel 34). The region also has three PBS
stations, as well as KCET
(Channel 28), the nation's largest independent public television station. KTBN
(Channel 40) is the flagship station
of the religious Trinity Broadcasting Network
, based out of Santa Ana
. A variety of independent television stations, such as KCAL-TV
(Channel 9) and KTLA
-TV (Channel 5), also operate in the area.
There are also a number of smaller regional newspapers, alternative weeklies and magazines, including the Los Angeles Register
, Los Angeles Community News, (which focuses on coverage of the greater Los Angeles area), Los Angeles Daily News
(which focuses coverage on the San Fernando Valley
), LA Weekly
, L.A. Record
(which focuses coverage on the music scene in the Greater Los Angeles Area
), Los Angeles Magazine
, the Los Angeles Business Journal
, the Los Angeles Daily Journal
(legal industry paper), The Hollywood Reporter
(both entertainment industry papers), and Los Angeles Downtown News
. In addition to the major papers, numerous local periodicals serve immigrant communities in their native languages, including Armenian, English, Korean, Persian, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Hebrew, and Arabic. Many cities adjacent to Los Angeles also have their own daily newspapers whose coverage and availability overlaps with certain Los Angeles neighborhoods. Examples include The Daily Breeze
(serving the South Bay
), and The Long Beach Press-Telegram
Los Angeles arts, culture and nightlife news is also covered by a number of local and national online guides like Time Out Los Angeles
, Kristin's List
, Diversity News Magazine
, and Flavorpill
The city and the rest of the Los Angeles metropolitan area
are served by an extensive network of freeways and highways. The Texas Transportation Institute
, which publishes an annual Urban Mobility Report, ranked Los Angeles road traffic as the most congested in the United States in 2005 as measured by annual delay per traveler.
The average traveler in Los Angeles experienced 72 hours of traffic delay per year according to the study. Los Angeles was followed by San Francisco
, Washington, D.C.
, (each with 60 hours of delay).
Despite the congestion in the city, the mean travel time for commuters in Los Angeles is shorter than other major cities, including New York City
. Los Angeles's mean travel time for work commutes in 2006 was 29.2 minutes, similar to those of San Francisco and Washington, D.C.
Among the major highways that connect LA to the rest of the nation include Interstate 5
, which runs south through San Diego
in Mexico and north through Sacramento
, and Seattle
to the Canada–US border
; Interstate 10
, the southernmost east–west, coast-to-coast Interstate Highway
in the United States, going to Jacksonville, Florida
; and U.S. Route 101
, which heads to the California Central Coast
, San Francisco, the Redwood Empire
, and the Oregon
The LA County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA County Metro) and other agencies operate an extensive system of bus lines, as well as subway
and light rail lines across Los Angeles County, with a combined monthly ridership (measured in individual boardings) of 38.8 million as of September 2011. The majority of this (30.5 million) is taken up by the city's bus system,
the second busiest in the country. The subway and light rail combined average the remaining roughly 8.2 million boardings per month.
LA County Metro recorded over 397 million boardings for the 2017 calendar year, including about 285 million bus riders and about 113 million riding on rail transit.
For the first quarter of 2018, there were just under 95 million system-wide boardings, down from about 98 million in 2017, and about 105 million in 2016.
In 2005, 10.2% of Los Angeles commuters rode some form of public transportation.
According to the 2016 American Community Survey, 9.2% of working Los Angeles (city) residents made the journey to work via public transportation.
Besides the rail service provided by Metrolink
and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Los Angeles is served by inter-city passenger trains from Amtrak
. The main rail station in the city is Union Station
just north of Downtown.
Other major nearby commercial airports include:
- (IATA: ONT, ICAO: KONT) Ontario International Airport, owned by the city of Ontario, CA; serves the Inland Empire.
- (IATA: BUR, ICAO: KBUR) Hollywood Burbank Airport, jointly owned by the cities of Burbank, Glendale, and Pasadena. Formerly known as Bob Hope Airport and Burbank Airport; the closest airport to Downtown Los Angeles; serves the San Fernando, San Gabriel, and Antelope Valleys.
- (IATA: LGB, ICAO: KLGB) Long Beach Airport, serves the Long Beach/Harbor area.
- (IATA: SNA, ICAO: KSNA) John Wayne Airport of Orange County.
The Port of Los Angeles
is in San Pedro Bay
in the San Pedro
neighborhood, approximately 20 miles (32 km) south of Downtown. Also called Los Angeles Harbor and WORLDPORT LA, the port complex occupies 7,500 acres (30 km2
) of land and water along 43 miles (69 km) of waterfront. It adjoins the separate Port of Long Beach
As of January 2020, there are 41,290 homeless people
in the City of Los Angeles, comprising roughly 62% of the homeless population of LA County.
This is an increase of 14.2% over the previous year (with a 12.7% increase in the overall homeless population of LA County).
The epicenter of homelessness in Los Angeles is the Skid Row
neighborhood, which contains 8,000 homeless people, one of the largest stable populations of homeless people in the United States.
The increased homeless population in Los Angeles has been attributed largely to lack of housing affordability.
Almost 60 percent of the 82,955 people who became newly homeless in 2019 said their homelessness was because of economic hardship.
In Los Angeles, black people are roughly four times more likely to experience homelessness.
As home to Hollywood and its entertainment industry, numerous singers, actors, celebrities and other entertainers live in various districts of Los Angeles.
Twin towns and sister cities
A sign near City Hall
points to the sister cities of Los Angeles.
- Eilat, Israel (1959)
- Nagoya, Japan (1959)
- Salvador, Brazil (1962)
- Bordeaux, France (1964)
- Berlin, Germany (1967)
- Lusaka, Zambia (1968)
- Mexico City, Mexico (1969)
- Auckland, New Zealand (1971)
- Busan, South Korea (1971)
- Mumbai, India (1972)
- Tehran, Iran (1972)
- Taipei, Taiwan (1979)
- Guangzhou, China (1981)
- Athens, Greece (1984)
- Saint Petersburg, Russia (1984)
- Vancouver, Canada (1986)
- Giza, Egypt (1989)
- Jakarta, Indonesia (1990)
- Kaunas, Lithuania (1991)
- Makati, Philippines (1992)
- Split, Croatia (1993)
- San Salvador, El Salvador (2005)
- Beirut, Lebanon (2006)
- Ischia, Campania, Italy (2006)
- Yerevan, Armenia (2007)
In addition, Los Angeles has the following "friendship cities":
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lɪs/ (listen) loss AN-jə-leez, -liz, -liss.
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