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Los Angeles

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Los Angeles
—  City  —
City of Los Angeles
Downtown Los Angeles, Venice, Griffith Observatory, Hollywood Sign


Nickname(s): L.A., the City of Angels, the Entertainment Capital of the World
Location within Los Angeles County in the state of California
Los Angeles is located in United States
Los Angeles
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 34°03′N 118°15′W Coordinates: 34°03′N 118°15′W
Country United States
State California California
County Los Angeles County
Settled September 4, 1781
Incorporated April 4, 1850
 • Type Mayor-Council
 • Body Los Angeles City Council
 •  Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
 •  City Attorney Carmen Trutanich
 •  City Controller Wendy Greuel
 • City 498.3 sq mi (1,290.6 km2)
 • Land 469.1 sq mi (1,214.9 km2)
 • Water 29.2 sq mi (75.7 km2)  5.8%
 • Urban 1,667.9 sq mi (4,319.9 km2)
Elevation 233 (city hall) ft (71 m)
Population (January 1, 2010)
 • City 4,065,585
 • Density 8,205/sq mi (3,168/km2)
 •  Urban 14,775,000
 •  Metro 15,250,000
 •  CSA 17,786,419
 •  Demonym Angeleno
  ( 2nd US, 45th World)
Time zone PST ( UTC-8)
 • Summer ( DST) PDT ( UTC−7)
ZIP code 90001–90068, 90070–90084, 90086–90089, 90091, 90093–90097, 90099, 90101–90103, 90174, 90185, 90189, 90291-90293, 91040–91043, 91303–91308, 91342–91349, 91352–91353, 91356–91357, 91364–91367, 91401–91499, 91601–91609
Area code(s) 213, 310/424, 323, 661, 747/818

Los Angeles (pronounced  /lɔːs ˈændʒələs/ lawss-AN-jə-ləs; Spanish:  [los ˈaŋxeles], Spanish for "The Angels") is the most populous city in California and the second most populous in the United States, with a population of 4.06 million on a land area of 498.3 square miles (1,290.6 km2). It is the focal point of the larger Los Angeles-Long Beach-Riverside combined statistical area, which contains nearly 17.8 million people. This makes it the 12th most populous metropolitan area in the world. Los Angeles is also the seat of Los Angeles County, the most populated and one of the most multicultural counties in the United States. The city's inhabitants are referred to as "Angelenos" ( /ændʒɨˈliːnoʊz/).

Los Angeles was founded on September 4, 1781 by Spanish governor Felipe de Neve. 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, thereby becoming part of the United States. Los Angeles was incorporated as a municipality on April 4, 1850, five months before California achieved statehood.

Often known by its initials, LA, and nicknamed the City of Angels, Los Angeles is a world centre of business, international trade, entertainment, culture, media, fashion, science, technology, and education. It is home to renowned institutions covering a broad range of professional and cultural fields, and is one of the most substantial economic engines within the United States. Los Angeles has been ranked the fifth most powerful and influential city in the world, behind only New York City in the United States. The Los Angeles combined statistical area (CSA) has a gross metropolitan product (GMP) of $831 billion (as of 2008), making it the third largest economic centre in the world, after the Greater Tokyo Area and the New York metropolitan area. As the home base of Hollywood, it is known as the "Entertainment Capital of the World", leading the world in the creation of motion pictures, television production, video games, and recorded music. The importance of the entertainment business to the city has led many celebrities to call Los Angeles and its surrounding suburbs home. Los Angeles hosted the 1932 and 1984 Summer Olympics. Los Angeles is also home to renowned universities such as the University of Southern California and the University of California, Los Angeles.

Los Angeles enjoys a Mediterranean climate, with an average of 35 days with measurable precipitation annually.


The old city plaza, 1869
Los Angeles City Hall, shown here in 1931, was built in 1928 and was the tallest structure in the city until 1964, when height restrictions were removed.
Downtown Los Angeles saw heavy development from the 1980s to 1990s, including the construction of some of the city's tallest skyscrapers.

The Los Angeles coastal area was first settled by the Tongva (or Gabrieleños) and Chumash Native American tribes thousands of years ago. The first Europeans arrived in 1542 in an expedition organized by the viceroy of New Spain and commanded by Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, a Portuguese-born explorer who claimed the area of southern California for the Spanish Empire. However, he continued with his voyage up the coast and did not establish a settlement. The next contact would not come until 227 years later, when Gaspar de Portolà, along with Franciscan missionary Juan Crespí, reached the present site of Los Angeles on August 2, 1769. Crespí noted that the site had the potential to be developed into a large settlement.

In 1771, Franciscan friar Junípero Serra built the Mission San Gabriel Arcangel near Whittier Narrows, in what is now called San Gabriel Valley. In 1777, the new governor of California, Felipe de Neve, recommended to Antonio María de Bucareli y Ursúa, viceroy of New Spain, that the site noted by Juan Crespí be developed into a pueblo. The town was officially founded on September 4, 1781, by a group of forty-four settlers known as " Los Pobladores". Tradition has it that on this day they were escorted by four Spanish colonial soldiers, two priests from the Mission and Governor de Neve. The town was named El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles del Río de Porciúncula (The Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels on the Porciúncula River). These pueblo settlers came from the common Hispanic culture that had emerged in northern Mexico among a racially mixed society. Two-thirds of the settlers were mestizo or mulatto, and therefore, had African, Amerindian, and European ancestry. More importantly, they were intermarrying. 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.

New Spain 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. Mexican rule ended during the Mexican–American War: Americans took control from the Californios after a series of battles, culminating with the signing of the Treaty of Cahuenga on January 13, 1847.

Railroads arrived with the completion of the Southern Pacific line to Los Angeles in 1876. Oil was discovered in 1892, and by 1923 Los Angeles was producing one-quarter of the world's petroleum.

By 1900, the population had grown to more than 102,000 people, putting pressure on the city's water supply. 1913's completion of the Los Angeles Aqueduct, under the supervision of William Mulholland, assured the continued growth of the city.

In the 1920s, the movie and aviation industries flocked to Los Angeles, with continuing growth ensuring that the city suffered less during the Great Depression. In 1932, with population surpassing one million, the city hosted the Summer Olympics.

The post-war years saw an even greater boom, as urban sprawl expanded the city into the San Fernando Valley. In 1960, non-Hispanic whites made up 82% of the population of Los Angeles County. In 1969, Los Angeles became one of the birthplaces of the Internet, as the first ARPANET transmission was sent from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to SRI in Menlo Park.

In 1984, the city hosted the Summer Olympic Games for the second time. Despite being boycotted by 14 Communist countries, the 1984 Olympics became the most financially successful in history, and only the second Olympics to turn a profit – the other being the 1932 Summer Olympics, also held in Los Angeles.

During the remaining decades of the 20th century, the city was plagued by increasing gang warfare, drug trades, and police corruption. Racial tensions erupted again in 1992 with the Rodney King controversy and the large-scale riots that followed the acquittal of his police attackers. In 1994, the 6.7 Northridge earthquake shook the city, causing $12.5 billion in damage and 72 deaths.

Voters defeated efforts by the San Fernando Valley and Hollywood to secede from the city in 2002.

Gentrification and urban redevelopment have occurred in many parts of the city, most notably Hollywood, Koreatown, Silver Lake, Echo Park and Downtown.


Panorama of Los Angeles as viewed from Mulholland Drive. Left to right: Santa Ana Mountains, downtown, Hollywood (foreground), Wilshire Boulevard, Port of Los Angeles, Palos Verdes Peninsula, Santa Catalina Island, and Los Angeles International Airport.
Hollywood, a well-known district of Los Angeles, is often mistaken as an independent city (as West Hollywood is).

The city is divided into many neighborhoods, many of which were incorporated places or communities that were annexed by the city. There are also several independent cities around Los Angeles, but they are popularly grouped with the city of Los Angeles, either due to being completely engulfed as enclaves by Los Angeles, or lying within its immediate vicinity. Generally, the city is divided into the following areas: Downtown Los Angeles, The Eastside and Northeast Los Angeles, South Los Angeles (still often colloquially referred to as South Central by locals), the Harbour Area, Greater Hollywood, Wilshire, the Westside and the San Fernando and Crescenta Valleys.

Some well-known communities within Los Angeles include West Adams, Watts, Leimert Park, Baldwin Hills, Venice Beach, the Downtown Financial District, Los Feliz, Silver Lake, Hollywood, Koreatown, Westwood and the more affluent areas of Bel Air, Benedict Canyon, Hollywood Hills, Hancock Park, Pacific Palisades, Century City, and Brentwood.


Important landmarks in Los Angeles include Chinatown, Koreatown, Little Tokyo, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Kodak Theatre, Griffith Observatory, Getty Centre, Getty Villa, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood Sign, Hollywood Boulevard, Capitol Records Tower, Los Angeles City Hall, Hollywood Bowl, Theme Building, Watts Towers, Staples Centre, Dodger Stadium, and La Placita Olvera/ Olvera Street.


The Los Angeles Basin

Los Angeles is irregularly shaped and covers a total area of 498.3 square miles (1,291 km2), comprising 469.1 square miles (1,215 square kilometres) of land and 29.2 square miles (76 square kilometres) of water. The city extends for 44 miles (71 kilometres) longitudinally and for 29 miles (47 kilometres) latitudinally. The perimeter of the city is 342 miles (550 kilometres). It is the only major city in the United States bisected by a mountain range.

Los Angeles is both flat and hilly. The highest point in the city is 5,080 ft (1,550 m) Mount Lukens, located at the northeastern end of the San Fernando Valley. The hilly parts of Los Angeles include the entire Santa Monica Mountains which stretch from Downtown to the Pacific Ocean, the Mt. Washington area north of Downtown, eastern parts such as Boyle Heights, the Crenshaw district around the Baldwin Hills, and the San Pedro district.

Mallards on the Los Angeles River

The Los Angeles River, a major river which is largely seasonal, is the primary drainage channel. It was straightened and lined in concrete by the Army Corps of Engineers for almost its entire length to act as a flood control channel. The river begins in the Canoga Park district of the city and flows east from the San Fernando Valley along the north edge of the Santa Monica Mountains as they diminish, then south through the city centre, then through nearby Vernon on its way to its mouth in the Port of Long Beach at the Pacific Ocean.


Los Angeles is subject to earthquakes due to its location on the Pacific Ring of Fire. The geologic instability has produced numerous faults, which cause approximately 10,000 earthquakes annually. One of the major faults is the San Andreas Fault. Located at the boundary between the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate, it is predicted to be the source of Southern California's next big earthquake. Major earthquakes to have hit the Los Angeles area include the 1994 Northridge earthquake, the 1987 Whittier Narrows earthquake, the 1971 San Fernando earthquake near Sylmar, and the 1933 Long Beach earthquake. Nevertheless, all but a few quakes are of low intensity and are not felt. The most recent earthquake felt was the 4.4 2010 Pico Rivera earthquake on March 16, 2010. Parts of the city are also vulnerable to Pacific Ocean tsunamis; harbour areas were damaged by waves from the Valdivia earthquake in 1960. The Los Angeles basin and metropolitan area are also at risk from blind thrust earthquakes.


Echo Park as seen with palm trees

Los Angeles has a Subtropical- Mediterranean climate ( Köppen climate classification Csb on the coast, Csa inland), and receives just enough annual precipitation to avoid Köppen's BSh ( semi-arid climate) classification. Los Angeles enjoys plenty of sunshine throughout the year, with an average of only 35 days with measurable precipitation annually.

The average annual temperature in downtown is 66 °F (19 °C): 75 °F (24 °C) during the day and 57 °F (14 °C) at night. In the coldest month, January, the temperature typically ranges from 59 to 73 °F (15 to 23 °C) during the day and 45 to 55 °F (7 to 13 °C) at night. In the warmest month – August – the temperature typically ranges from 79 to 90 °F (26 to 32 °C) during the day and around 64 °F (18 °C) at night. Temperatures 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 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). Average annual temperature of sea is 63 °F (17 °C), from 58 °F (14 °C) in January to 68 °F (20 °C) in August. Sunshine hours is above 3,000 per year, from average 7 hours of sunshine / day in December to average 12 hours of sunshine / day in July.

The Los Angeles area is also subject to phenomena typical of a microclimate. As such, the temperatures can vary as much as 36 °F (20 °C) between inland areas and the coast. California also has a weather phenomenon called " June Gloom or May Grey", which sometimes gives overcast or foggy skies in the morning at the coast, but usually gives sunny skies by noon, during late spring and early summer.

Los Angeles averages 15.14 inches (384.6 millimetres) of precipitation annually, which mainly occurs during the winter and spring (November through April) with generally moderate rain showers, but usually as heavy rainfall and thunderstorms during Winter storms. The coast gets slightly less rainfall, while the mountains get slightly more. However the San Fernando Valley Region of Los Angeles can get between 16 and 20 inches of rain per year. Years of average rainfall are rare; the usual pattern is bimodal, with a short string of dry years (perhaps ) followed by one or two wet years that make up the average. Snowfall is extremely rare in the city basin, but the mountains within city limits typically receive snowfall every winter. The greatest snowfall recorded in downtown Los Angeles was 2 inches (5 centimetres) in 1932.

Climate data for Los Angeles ( Downtown), 1981–2010 normals
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 68.6
Daily mean °F (°C) 59.2
Average low °F (°C) 49.7
Precipitation inches (mm) 3.12
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 6.1 6.4 5.5 3.2 1.3 0.6 0.3 0.3 1 2.5 3.3 5.2 35.7
Mean monthly sunshine hours 225.3 222.5 267 303.5 276.2 275.8 364.1 349.5 278.5 255.1 217.3 219.4 3254.2
Source: NOAA (sun 1961–1990)


MacArthur Park

The Los Angeles area is rich in native plant species due in part to a diversity in habitats, including beaches, wetlands, and mountains. The most prevalent botanical environment is coastal sage scrub, which covers the hillsides in combustible chaparral. Native plants include: California poppy, matilija poppy, toyon, 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. Though they are 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, California Fan Palms, and Canary Island Palms can be seen throughout the Los Angeles area, despite the latter being non-indeginous to Southern California.

Environmental issues

A view of Los Angeles covered in smog

The name given by the Chumash tribe of Native Americans for the area now known as Los Angeles translates to "the valley of smoke" because of the smog from native campfires. 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. Unlike other large cities that 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. More recently, the state of California has led the nation in working to limit pollution by mandating low-emission vehicles. Smog levels are only high during summers because it is dry and warm. In the winter, storms help to clear the smog and it is not as much of a problem. Smog should continue to drop in the coming years due to aggressive steps to reduce it, electric and hybrid cars, improvements in mass transit, and other pollution reducing measures.

As a result, pollution levels have dropped in recent decades. The number of Stage 1 smog alerts 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. In addition, the groundwater is increasingly threatened by MTBE from gas stations and perchlorate from rocket fuel. With pollution still a significant problem, the city continues to take aggressive steps to improve air and water conditions. The city has met its goal of providing 20 percent of the city's power from renewable sources in 2010.


Companies such as US Bancorp, Ernst & Young, Aon, Manulife Financial, City National Bank, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Deloitte, KPMG and the Union Bank of California have offices in the Downtown Financial District
The Financial District of Downtown Los Angeles

The economy of Los Angeles is driven by international trade, entertainment (television, motion pictures, video games, recorded music), aerospace, technology, petroleum, fashion, apparel, and tourism. Los Angeles is also the largest manufacturing centre in the western United States. The contiguous ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach together comprise the fifth-busiest port in the world and the most significant port in the Western Hemisphere and is vital to trade within the Pacific Rim. Other significant industries include media production, finance, telecommunications, law, healthcare, and transportation. The Los Angeles-Long Beach-Riverside combined statistical area (CSA) has a gross metropolitan product (GMP) of $831 billion (as of 2008), making it the third largest economic centre in the world, after the Greater Tokyo Area and the New York-Newark-Bridgeport CSA. If counted as a country, the surrounding CSA has the 15th largest economy in the world in terms of nominal GDP.

Until the mid-1990s, Los Angeles was home to many major financial institutions in the western United States. Mergers meant reporting to headquarters in other cities. For instance, First Interstate Bancorp merged with Wells Fargo in 1996, Great Western Bank merged with Washington Mutual in 1998, and Security Pacific Bank merged with Bank of America in 1992. Los Angeles was also home to the Pacific Exchange, until it closed in 2001.

The city is home to seven Fortune 500 companies. They are aerospace contractor Northrop Grumman, energy company Occidental Petroleum, healthcare provider Health Net, metals distributor Reliance Steel & Aluminium, engineering firm AECOM, real estate group CB Richard Ellis and builder Tutor Perini.

Other companies headquartered in Los Angeles include Capital Group, City National Bank, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, DeviantArt, Farmers Insurance Group, Fox Entertainment Group, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Guess?, The Jim Henson Company, KB Home, Latham & Watkins, Mercury Insurance Group, Oaktree Capital Management, O’Melveny & Myers; Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker, Premier America, Premiere Radio Networks, Roll International, Sunkist, The TCW Group, Tokyopop and Triton Media Group.

The metropolitan area contains the headquarters of companies who moved outside of the city to escape its taxes but keep the benefits of proximity. For example, Los Angeles charges a gross receipts tax based on a percentage of business revenue, while many neighboring cities charge only small flat fees.

Walt Disney Concert Hall

The University of Southern California (USC) is the city's largest private sector employer and contributes $4 billion annually to the local economy. Los Angeles is classified as an "Alpha(-) world city" in a 2008 study by a research group at Loughborough University in England.

In January 2010 many of the aerospace firms with operations in Los Angeles County are relatively small compared to the larger corporations. The United States Postal Service operates post offices in Los Angeles, the main one of which is located at 7001 South Central Avenue.

According to the city's 2009 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top ten employers in the city are the County of Los Angeles, University of California, Los Angeles, University of Southern California, Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre, Kaiser Permanente, Fox Entertainment Group, Farmers Insurance Group, TeamOne and Northrop Grumman.


Kodak Theatre
Hollywood Sign

Los Angeles is often billed as the "Creative Capital of the World", due to the fact that one in every six of its residents works in a creative industry. According to the USC Stevens Institute for Innovation, "there are more artists, writers, filmmakers, actors, dancers and musicians living and working in Los Angeles than any other city at any time in the history of civilization."

Los Angeles is home to Hollywood, globally recognized as the epicenter of the motion picture industry. A testament to its preeminence in film, the city plays host to the annual Academy Awards, the oldest and one of the most prominent award ceremonies in the world. Furthermore, there are 54 film festivals every year, which translates into more than one every week. Finally, Los Angeles is home to the USC School of Cinematic Arts, the oldest and largest school of its kind in the United States.

The performing arts play a major role in Los Angeles' cultural identity. There are over 1,000 musical, theatre, dance, and performing groups. According to the USC Stevens Institute for Innovation, "there are more than 1,100 annual theatrical productions and 21 openings every week." The Los Angeles Music Centre is one of the three largest performing arts complexes in the nation. The Walt Disney Concert Hall, the centerpiece of the Music Centre, is home to the prestigious Los Angeles Philharmonic. Notable organizations such as Centre Theatre Group and the Los Angeles Master Chorale along with the rising Los Angeles Opera are also resident companies of the Music Centre. Talent is locally cultivated at premier institutions such as the Colburn School and the USC Thornton School of Music.

There are 841 museums and art galleries in Los Angeles County; Los Angeles has more museums per capita than any other city in the world. The most notable museums are the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (the largest encyclopedic museum west of Chicago), the Getty Centre (part of the larger J. Paul Getty Trust, the world's wealthiest art institution), and the Museum of Contemporary Art. A significant amount of art galleries are concentrated on Gallery Row and thousands are in attendance of the monthly Downtown Art Walk that takes place there.


Dodger Stadium is the home of the Los Angeles Dodgers

Los Angeles is the home of the Los Angeles Dodgers of Major League Baseball, the Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League, the Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association, the Los Angeles D-Fenders, an NBA Development team owned by the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Los Angeles Sparks of the Women's National Basketball Association. Los Angeles is also home to the USC Trojans and the UCLA Bruins in the NCAA, both of which are Division I teams in the Pacific-10 Conference. The Los Angeles Galaxy and Club Deportivo Chivas USA of Major League Soccer are based in Carson. The city is the largest in the U.S. without an NFL team.

There was a time when Los Angeles boasted two NFL teams, the Rams and the Raiders. Both left the city in 1995, with the Rams moving to St. Louis and the Raiders heading back to Oakland. Los Angeles is the second-largest city and television market in the United States, but has no NFL team (see List of television stations in North America by media market). Prior to 1995, the Rams called Memorial Coliseum (1946–1979) and the Raiders played their home games at Memorial Coliseum from 1982 to 1994.

Staples Centre, a premier venue for sports and entertainment, is home to five professional sports teams, most notably the Los Angeles Lakers

Since the franchise's departures the NFL as an organization, and individual NFL owners, have attempted to relocate a team to the city. Immediately following the 1995 NFL season, Seattle Seahawks owner Ken Behring went as far as packing up moving vans to start play in the Rose Bowl under a new team name and logo for the 1996 season. The State of Washington filed a law suit to successfully prevent the move. In 2003, then NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue indicated LA would get a new expansion team, a thirty-third franchise, after the choice of Houston over LA in the 2002 league expansion round. When the New Orleans Saints were displaced from the Superdome by Hurricane Katrina media outlets reported the NFL was planning to move the team to Los Angeles permanently. Despite these efforts, and the failure to build a new stadium for an NFL team, LA is still expected to return to the league through expansion or relocation.

Los Angeles has twice played host to the summer Olympic Games, in 1932 and in 1984. When the tenth Olympic Games were hosted in 1932, the former 10th Street was renamed Olympic Blvd. Super Bowls I and VII were also held in the city as well as soccer's international World Cup in 1994.

Los Angeles also boasts a number of sports venues, including Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles Coliseum, The Forum, Staples Center, a sports and entertainment complex that also hosts concerts and awards shows such as the Grammys. Staples Centre also serves as the home arena for the Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers of the NBA, the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA, the Los Angeles Kings of the NHL and the Avengers of the AFL.

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of Major League Baseball and the Anaheim Ducks of the National Hockey League are in the Los Angeles media market and are based in Anaheim in Orange County. The Angels began as an expansion franchise team in Los Angeles in 1961 and played at Los Angeles' Wrigley Field and then Dodger Stadium before moving to Anaheim in 1966.


Built in 1956, the Los Angeles California Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the second largest Mormon temple in the world
Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels

The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Los Angeles leads the largest archdiocese in the country. Cardinal Roger Mahony oversaw construction of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, completed in 2002 at the north end of downtown. Construction of the cathedral marked a coming of age of the Catholic, heavily Latino community. There are numerous Catholic churches and parishes throughout the city.

The Los Angeles California Temple, the second largest temple operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is on Santa Monica Boulevard in the Westwood district of Los Angeles. Dedicated in 1956, it was the first Mormon temple built in California and it was the largest in the world when completed. The grounds includes a visitors' centre open to the public, the Los Angeles Regional Family History Centre, also open to the public, and the headquarters for the Los Angeles mission.

With 621,000 Jews in the metropolitan area (490,000 in city proper), the region has the second largest population of Jews in the United States. Many synagogues of the Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, and Reconstructionist movements can be found throughout the city. Most are located in the San Fernando Valley and West Los Angeles. The area in West Los Angeles around Fairfax and Pico Boulevards contains a large number of Orthodox Jews. 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 a sacred space and is being converted to a museum and community centre.) The Kabbalah Centre, devoted to one line of Jewish mysticism, is also in the city.

The Hollywood region of Los Angeles also has several significant headquarters, churches, and the Celebrity Centre of Scientology.

Because of Los Angeles' large multi-ethnic population, a wide variety of faiths are practiced, including Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Sikhism, Bahá'í, various Eastern Orthodox Churches, Sufism and 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.


Colleges and universities

Second branch of the California State Normal School in downtown Los Angeles opened its doors in 1882.

There are three public universities located within the city limits: California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA), California State University, Northridge (CSUN) and University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Private colleges in the city include the American Film Institute Conservatory, Alliant International University, Syracuse University (Los Angeles Campus), American InterContinental University, American Jewish University, The American Musical and Dramatic Academy – Los Angeles campus, Antioch University's Los Angeles campus, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising's Los Angeles campus (FIDM), Los Angeles Film School, Loyola Marymount University (LMU is also the parent university of Loyola Law School located in Los Angeles), Marymount College, Mount St. Mary's College, National University of California, Occidental College ("Oxy"), Otis College of Art and Design (Otis), Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc), Southwestern Law School, and University of Southern California (USC).

The community college system consists of nine campuses governed by the trustees of the Los Angeles Community College District: East Los Angeles College (ELAC), Los Angeles City College (LACC), Los Angeles Harbour College, Los Angeles Mission College, Los Angeles Pierce College, Los Angeles Valley College (LAVC), Los Angeles Southwest College, Los Angeles Trade-Technical College and West Los Angeles College.

Schools and libraries

The Los Angeles Central Library in Downtown Los Angeles

Los Angeles Unified School District serves almost all of the city of Los Angeles, as well as several surrounding communities, with a student population over 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. Several small sections of Los Angeles are in the Las Virgenes Unified School District. Los Angeles County Office of Education operates the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. The Los Angeles Public Library system operates 72 public libraries in the city. Enclaves of unincorporated areas are served by the County of Los Angeles Public Library, many are within walking distance to City of Los Angeles residents.


Freeways and highways

The city and the rest of the Los Angeles metropolitan area is 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/ Oakland, Washington, D.C. and Atlanta, (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, Philadelphia and Chicago. Los Angeles' 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 to Tijuana in Mexico and then north to the Canadian border through Sacramento, Portland, and Seattle; 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 and Washington coasts.

Public transportation

Current Los Angeles Metro Rail map showing existing and under-construction lines.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority 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 daily ridership of 1.7 million. The majority of this (1.4 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 319,000 boardings per weekday. In 2005, 10.2% of Los Angeles commuters rode some form of public transportation.

The city's subway system is the ninth busiest in the United States and its light rail system is the country's third busiest. The rail system includes the Red and Purple subway lines, as well as the Gold, Blue, and Green light rail lines. The Metro Orange Line is a bus rapid transit line with stops and frequency similar those of a light rail. The city is also central to the commuter rail system Metrolink, which links Los Angeles to all neighboring counties as well as many suburbs.

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.

Air transportation

LAX, the fifth busiest airport in the world

The main Los Angeles airport is Los Angeles International Airport ( IATA: LAX ICAO: KLAX). The sixth busiest commercial airport in the world and the third busiest in the United States, LAX handled over 61 million passengers and 2 million tons of cargo in 2006. The Theme Building is pictured here. LAX is a hub for United Airlines

Other major nearby commercial airports include:

  • ( IATA: ONT ICAO: KONT) LA/Ontario International Airport, owned by the city of Los Angeles; serves the Inland Empire.
  • ( IATA: BUR ICAO: KBUR) Bob Hope Airport, formerly known as Burbank Airport; serves the San Fernando and San Gabriel Valleys
  • ( IATA: LGB ICAO: KLGB) Long Beach Airport, serves the Long Beach/Harbour area
  • ( IATA: SNA ICAO: KSNA) John Wayne Airport of Orange County.
  • ( IATA: PMD ICAO: KPMD) LA/Palmdale Regional Airport is owned by the city of Los Angeles and serves the northern outlying communities of the Santa Clarita and Antelope Valleys.

The world's third busiest general-aviation airport is also located in Los Angeles, Van Nuys Airport ( IATA: VNY ICAO: KVNY).


A view of the Vincent Thomas Bridge reaching Terminal Island

The Port of Los Angeles is located in San Pedro Bay in the San Pedro neighborhood, approximately 20 miles (32 km) south of Downtown. Also called Los Angeles Harbour and WORLDPORT LA, the port complex occupies 7,500 acres (30 km2) of land and water along 43 miles (69 kilometres) of waterfront. It adjoins the separate Port of Long Beach.

The sea ports of the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach together make up the Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbour. Both ports is the 5th busiest container port in the World, with a trade volume of over 14.2 million TEU's in 2008. Singly, the Port of Los Angeles is the busiest container port in the United States and the largest cruise ship centre on the West Coast of the United States – Port's World Cruise Centre serves about 800,000 passengers in 2009.

There are also smaller, non-industrial harbors along LA's coastline. Safety is provided at the only beach controlled by Los Angeles City by the highly trained Los Angeles City Lifeguards.

The port includes four bridges: the Vincent Thomas Bridge, Henry Ford Bridge, Gerald Desmond Bridge, and Commodore Schuyler F. Heim Bridge.

Passenger ferry service from San Pedro to the city of Avalon on Santa Catalina Island is provided by Catalina Express.


A view of downtown Los Angeles from the air.
Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1850 1,610
1860 4,385 +172.4%
1870 5,728 +30.6%
1880 11,183 +95.2%
1890 50,395 +350.6%
1900 102,479 +103.4%
1910 319,198 +211.5%
1920 576,673 +80.7%
1930 1,238,048 +114.7%
1940 1,504,277 +21.5%
1950 1,970,358 +31.0%
1960 2,479,015 +25.8%
1970 2,816,061 +13.6%
1980 2,966,850 +5.4%
1990 3,485,398 +17.5%
2000 3,694,820 +6.0%
2010 4,065,585 +10.0%

According to the 2006–08 American Community Survey, the racial composition of Los Angeles was as follows:

  • White: 49.5% ( Non-Hispanic Whites: 29.4%)
  • Black or African American: 9.9%
  • Native American: 0.6%
  • Asian: 10.4%
  • Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander: 0.2%
  • Some other race: 26.5%
  • Two or more races: 2.9%
  • Hispanic or Latino (of any race): 48.4%

African Americans make up 9.9% of Los Angeles' population. According to the survey, there were 370,718 African Americans residing in Los Angeles.

Native Americans make up 0.6% of Los Angeles' population. According to the survey, there were 21,696 Native Americans residing in Los Angeles. Of 21,696 Native Americans, 1,686 were of the Cherokee tribal grouping. In addition, 913 individuals identified themselves as Navajo. Approximately 110 people identified themselves as Chippewa, and 97 people identified themselves as Sioux.

Asian Americans make up 10.4% of Los Angeles' population. According to the survey, there were 391,377 Asian Americans residing in Los Angeles. The seven largest Asian American groups were the following:

  • Filipino: 3.1% (115,729)
  • Korean: 2.5% (93,856)
  • Chinese: 1.7% (62,881)
  • Other Asian ( Cambodian, Laotian, Thai, Hmong, etc.): 1.0% (36,580)
  • Japanese: 0.9% (32,555)
  • Indian: 0.8% (29,131)
  • Vietnamese: 0.6% (20,645)

Pacific Islander Americans make up 0.2% of Los Angeles' population. According to the survey, there were 7,475 Pacific Islander Americans residing in Los Angeles. The four Pacific Islander American groups were the following:

  • Native Hawaiian: 1,575 (<0.1%)
  • Guamanian or Chamorro: 1,231 (<0.1%)
  • Samoan: 2,263 (0.1%)
  • Other Pacific Islander (Fijian, Tongan, etc.): 2,406 (0.1%)

Multiracial Americans make up 2.9% of Los Angeles' population. According to the survey, there were 108,940 multiracial Americans residing in Los Angeles. The four main multiracial groups were the following:

  • White & Black: 0.4% (13,307)
  • White & Native American: 0.3% (11,327)
  • White & Asian: 0.6% (20,640)
  • Black & Native American: 0.1% (2,813)

Hispanics and Latinos make up 48.4% of Los Angeles' population. According to the survey, there were 1,815,005 Hispanics and Latinos residing in Los Angeles. The four main Hispanic/Latino groups were the following:

  • Mexican: 33.4% (1,253,410)
  • Puerto Rican: 0.4% (14,646)
  • Cuban: 0.4% (13,390)
  • Other Hispanic or Latino ( Colombian, Panamanian, Uruguayan, etc.): 14.2% (533,539)

White Americans make up 49.5% of Los Angeles's population. According to the survey, there were 1,857,130 White Americans residing in Los Angeles. Much of the European American population is of German, Irish, English, Italian, Russian, Polish, and French descent.


According to the 2006–2008 American Community Survey, the top ten European ancestries were the following:

  • German: 4.5% (170,483)
  • Irish: 3.9% (146,658)
  • English: 3.5% (129,684)
  • Italian: 2.8% (100,145)
  • Russian: 2.6% (98,737)
  • Polish: 1.6% (59,774)
  • French: 1.2% (45,127)
  • Scottish: 0.8% (28,931)
  • Swedish: 0.6% (23,227)
  • Scotch-Irish: 0.6% (22,651)


Current estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau put the city's population at 3,833,995. The California Department of Finance estimates the population at 4,094,764 as of January 1, 2009. The 2000 census recorded 3,694,820 people, 1,275,412 households, and 798,719 families residing in the city, with a population density of 7,876.8 people per square mile (3,041.3/km2). There were 1,337,706 housing units at an average density of 2,851.8 per square mile (1,101.1/km2). Los Angeles has become a multiethnic and multicultural city, with major new groups of Latino and Asian immigrants in recent decades. From a metropolitan area that in 1960 was over 80% non-Hispanic white, Los Angeles has been transformed into a city that now has a " majority-minority" population. As of the 2000 US Census, the racial distribution in Los Angeles was 46.9% White American, 11.2% African American, 10.5% Asian American, 0.8% Native American, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 25.7% from other races, and 5.2% from two or more races. 46.5% of the population was Hispanic or Latino (of any race).

The census indicated that 42.2% spoke English, 41.7% Spanish, 2.4% Korean, 2.3% Tagalog, 1.7% Armenian, 1.5% Chinese (including Cantonese and Mandarin) and 1.3% Persian as their first language.

According to the census, 33.5% of households had children under 18, 41.9% were married couples, 14.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.4% were non-families. 28.5% of households were made up of individuals and 7.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.83 and the average family size 3.56.

The age distribution was: 26.6% under 18, 11.1% from 18 to 24, 34.1% from 25 to 44, 18.6% from 45 to 64, and 9.7% who were 65 or older. The median age was 32. For every 100 females there were 99.4 males. For every 100 females aged 18 and over, there were 97.5 males.

The median income for a household was $36,687, and for a family was $39,942. Males had a median income of $31,880, females $30,197. The per capita income was $20,671. 22.1% of the population and 18.3% of families were below the poverty line. 30.3% of those under the age of 18 and 12.6% of those aged 65 or older were below the poverty line. Los Angeles has had a high degree of income disparity as compared to the rest of the country. Recently, however, income disparity has declined. The median household income of the wealthiest neighbourhood was $207,938, while in the poorest it was $15,003.

Los Angeles is home to people from more than 140 countries speaking 224 different identified languages. Ethnic enclaves like Chinatown, Historic Filipinotown, Koreatown, Little Armenia, Little Ethiopia, Tehrangeles, Little Tokyo, Little Italy, and Thai Town provide examples of the polyglot character of Los Angeles.


The city is governed by a mayor-council system. The current mayor is Antonio Villaraigosa. There are 15 city council districts. Other elected city officials include the City Attorney Carmen Trutanich and the City Controller Wendy Greuel. The city attorney prosecutes misdemeanors within the city limits. The district attorney, elected by county voters, prosecutes misdemeanors in unincorporated areas and in 78 of the 88 cities in the county, as well as felonies throughout the county.

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) polices the city of Los Angeles, but the city also maintains four specialized police agencies; The Office of Public Safety, within the General Services Department (which is responsible for security and law enforcement services at city facilities, including City Hall, city parks and libraries, the Los Angeles Zoo, and the Convention Center), the Port Police, within the Harbour Department (which is responsible for land, air and sea law enforcement services at the Port of Los Angeles), the Los Angeles City Schools Police department which handles law enforcement for all city schools, and the Airport Police, within the Los Angeles World Airports Department (which is responsible for law enforcement services at all four city-owned airports, including Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), LA/Ontario International Airport (ONT), LA/Palmdale Regional Airport (PMD), and Van Nuys Airport (VNY).

Neighbourhood councils

Bunker Hill in L.A.

Voters created Neighbourhood Councils in the Charter Reform of 1999. First proposed by City Council member Joel Wachs in 1996, they were designed to promote public participation in government and make it more responsive to local needs.

The councils cover districts that are not necessarily identical to the traditional neighborhoods of Los Angeles.

Almost ninety neighbourhood councils (NCs) are certified and all " stakeholders"—meaning anyone who lives, works or owns property in a neighbourhood—may vote for members of the councils' governing bodies. Some council bylaws allow other people with a stake in the community to cast ballots as well.

The councils are official government bodies and so their governing bodies and committees must abide by California's Brown Act, which governs the meetings of deliberative assemblies.

The first notable concern of the neighbourhood councils collectively was the opposition by some of them in March 2004 to an 18% increase in water rates by the city's Department of Water and Power. This led the City Council to approve only a limited increase pending independent review. More recently, some of the councils petitioned the City Council in summer 2006 to allow them to introduce ideas for legislative action, but the City Council put off a decision.

The neighborhood councils have been allocated $45,000 each per year for administration, outreach and approved neighbourhood projects.

Crime and safety

The LAPD during May Day 2006 in front of the new Caltrans District 7 Headquarters

Los Angeles has been experiencing significant decline in crime since the mid-1990s, and reached a 50-year low in 2009 with 314 homicides. Antonio Villaraigosa is a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition.

In 2009, Los Angeles reported 314 homicides, which corresponds to a rate of 7.85 (per 100,000 population)—a major decrease from 1993, when the all time homicide rate of over 21.1 (per 100,000 population) was reported for the year. 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.

Organized crime

The Los Angeles crime family dominated organized crime in the city during the Prohibition era and reached its peak during the 1940s and 1950s as part of the American Mafia but has gradually declined since then with the rise of various black and Hispanic gangs.

According to the Los Angeles Police Department, the city is home to 26,000 gang members, organized into 250 gangs. Among them are the Crips, Bloods, Hoovers, Sureños, Maravilla, 18th Street, Mara Salvatrucha, and Asian street gangs. This has led to the city being referred to as the "Gang Capital of America".

Sister cities

A sign near City Hall points to the sister cities of Los Angeles

Los Angeles has 25 sister cities, listed chronologically by year joined:

  • Israel Eilat, Israel (1959)
  • Japan Nagoya, Japan (1959)
  • Brazil Salvador, Brazil (1962)
  • France Bordeaux, France (1964)
  • Germany Berlin, Germany (1967)
  • Zambia Lusaka, Zambia (1968)
  • Mexico Mexico City, Mexico (1969)
  • New Zealand Auckland City, New Zealand (1971)
  • South Korea Busan, South Korea (1971)
  • India Mumbai, India (1972)
  • Iran Tehran, Iran (1972)
  • Taiwan Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China (1979)
  • China Guangzhou, People's Republic of China (1981)
  • Greece Athens, Greece (1984)
  • Russia Saint Petersburg, Russia (1984)
  • Canada Vancouver, Canada (1986)
  • Egypt Giza, Egypt (1989)
  • Indonesia Jakarta, Indonesia (1990)
  • Lithuania Kaunas, Lithuania (1991)
  • Philippines Makati, Philippines (1992)
  • Croatia Split, Croatia (1993)
  • El Salvador San Salvador, El Salvador (2005)
  • Lebanon Beirut, Lebanon (2006)
  • Italy Ischia, Italy (2006)
  • Armenia Yerevan, Armenia (2007)
  • Israel Los Angeles also has a cultural exchange partnership with Tel Aviv, Israel.
  • United Kingdom London and Manchester, United Kingdom, and Poland Łódź, Poland are "friendship cities".
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