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Los Angeles
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Los Angeles

Los Angeles, California
Flag of Los Angeles Seal of Los Angeles
City nickname:"The City of Angels"

County Los Angeles County, California
 - Total
 - Water

1,290.6 km² (498.3 mi²)
75.7 km² (29.2 mi²) 5.86%
 - Total (2000)
 - Density

Time zone Pacific: UTC-8
33°56' N
118°24' W
City Flower: Birds of paradise
City Tree: Coral tree
City of Los Angeles Official Website
The City of Los Angeles is a large coastal metropolis in Southern California in the western United States. The city is the county seat of Los Angeles County. Los Angeles is the largest city in California, and the second most populous city in the United States, with a population of 3,694,820 as of the 2000 census. A July 1, 2002, Census estimate shows the city's population at 3,798,981.

Initially founded in September 4, 1781, as part of Spanish-controlled Mexico, the settlement was christened El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles del Río de Porciúncula. Los Angeles was incorporated as a city in the U.S. State of California on April 4, 1850.

The Los Angeles metropolitan area (euphemistically termed the "Southland") consists of Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside and Orange counties, and is home to over sixteen million people of diverse ethnic and economic backgrounds. The Greater Los Angeles area is sometimes inaccurately referred to as Southern California, but geographically that term more properly includes both the Los Angeles metroplex as well as Imperial, Kern, San Diego, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

Table of contents
1 History
2 Historical population
3 Culture
4 Flora
5 Media
6 Religion
7 Stereotypes
8 Education
9 Sites of interest
10 Law and government
11 Geography
12 Seismic activity
13 Urban layout
14 Communities, neighborhoods and districts
15 Area codes
16 Economy
17 Transportation
18 People
19 Demographics
20 Notable natives
21 See also
22 External links


Main Article: History of Los Angeles, California

The history includes earthquakes, riots, mudslides, movie stars, oil rigs, aerospace pioneers, surfers, politicians and palm trees.

Historical population

Year Population
1800 315
1830 770
1850 1,610
1870 5,730
1880 11,200
1890 50,400
1900 102,500
1910 319,200
1920 576,700
1930 1,238,048
1940 1,504,277
1950 1,970,358
1960 2,479,015
1970 2,816,061
1980 2,966,850
1990 3,485,398
2000 3,694,820

At the end of 2004, population is estimated to be 3,912,200.


Main article: Arts and Culture of Los Angeles

Los Angeles is the most important site in the United States for movie and television production. It faces increasing competition, however, from other parts of the United States and from the Canadian cities of Vancouver and Toronto.


While the cuisines of many cultures have taken root in Los Angeles, L.A. is the home of the Cobb Salad, invented in the Brown Derby restaurant in Hollywood, the French-Dip sandwich, originated by either Cole's or Phillippe's restaurant in downtown Los Angeles, and the Tommy's Hamburger.


The greater Los Angeles metro area has several notable museums including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the J. Paul Getty Center, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), the UCLA Hammer Museum and the Norton Simon Museum. Until the 1960s the region was something of a "cultural wasteland" compared to San Francisco and New York--if culture is defined as the "high arts" of ballet, opera, classical music and legitimate theater. However, as the city flourished financially in the middle of the 20th century, the culture followed. Boosters such as Dorothy Buffum Chandler and other philanthropists raised funds for the establishment of art museums, music centers and theaters. Today, the Southland cultural scene is as complex, sophisticated and varied as any in the world.


Los Angeles is known for its mural art, and its thousands of examples of wall art are believe to outnumber those in every other city in the world. The city also has a famous "public art" program which requires developers to contribute one percent of the cost of construction of new buildings to a public art fund. Much of this money has been spent in downtown Los Angeles.


Los Angeles had a vibrant African-American musical community even when it was relatively small: a number of musical artists congregated around Central Avenue, and the community produced a number of great talents, including Charles Mingus, Buddy Collette, Gerald Wilson, and others in the 1930s and 1940s. While that scene disappeared in the 1950s, Los Angeles continues as an important center for music, including rock and rap, both performed live and recorded. Much hard rock has come out of Los Angeles, including "hair bands" like Mötley Crüe, thrash metal acts like Slayer, and also 90s rock bands such as Korn. Metallica got their start in L.A., but made their fame in the Bay Area. The hardcore punk movement also had an offshoot here, featuring bands like X, Black Flag and Wasted Youth.

The Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra now performs at Walt Disney Concert Hall after having spent many years in residence at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.


Los Angeles is the home of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team, the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers men's basketball teams, the Los Angeles Sparks women's basketball team, the Los Angeles Kings hockey team, the Los Angeles Galaxy soccer team, and the Los Angeles Avengers arena football team.

To the Southeast, suburban Orange County is home to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim hockey team and the Anaheim Angels baseball team.

The city is credited with being the birthplace of skateboarding.

The city has also twice played host to the summer Olympic Games: in 1932 and in 1984.


Visitors from colder climates will be struck by the profusion of "unusual" flowers and flowering trees, blooming year-round, with subtle colors, including for example, the jacaranda, hibiscus, phlox, bougainvillea, coral tree blossoms and bird of paradise. If there were no city here, flower-growing could still flourish as an industry, as it does in Lompoc. Wisteria has been known to grow to house-lot-size, and in Descanso Gardens, there are forests of camellia trees. Orchids take special attention in this Mediterranean climate.


The city is served by several local television stations including KCBS 2, KNBC 4, KTLA 5, KABC 7, KCAL 9, KTTV 11, KCOP 13, KCET 28, and KMEX 34. Los Angeles is served by the Los Angeles Times as well as smaller regional newspapers, alternative weeklies and magazine, including the Daily News (which focuses coverage on the Valley), L.A. Weekly, L.A. City Beat, Los Angeles magazine, Los Angeles Business Journal, Los Angeles Daily Journal (legal industry paper), Daily Variety, (show-biz industry paper), Los Angeles Downtown News and La Opinión, (the city's major Spanish-language paper.)


Los Angeles is home to adherents of every religion. The cathedral of the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Los Angeles, the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels (located at the north end of downtown) was completed in 2002. A major temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is located in West Los Angeles.

Los Angeles' large multi-ethnic population has allowed less common religions in North America to thrive. Recent immigrants from Asia, for example, have caused a number of significant Buddhist congregations to form. One of the major temples, the Hsi Lai Buddhist Temple, is located in nearby La Habra, California.

Los Angeles is also home to a sizable number of Neopaganss and other mystical religions.

Los Angeles has also been the home of some very colorful religious leaders and icons. In the 1920s, Aimee Semple McPherson established a thriving evangelic ministry, open to both black and white congregants, but her career was eventually brought down by her personal misadventures. More recently, televangelists like Dr. Gene Scott and the Trinity Broadcasting Network (based in the nearby Southern California suburb of Costa Mesa, California) and Rev. Robert H. Schuller (at the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California) have taken their ministries to the airwaves. The somewhat controversial Church of Scientology also has a major presence in the city. Focus on the Family, a major parachurch organization concentrating on family issues and headed by James Dobson, was started in Arcadia and thrived there for many years before moving to its current home of Colorado Springs, Colorado.


Los Angeles has been derided by the rest of the United States for most of the last century: to quote one dyspeptic observer, it simply "oozed up through the unstable earth like some noxious tropical plant growing and spreading over the plain and sending forth strange fruit to contaminate the rest of the country". H.L. Mencken complained about the stink of oranges, while Bertolt Brecht compared Los Angeles to hell with "endless processions of cars/Lighter than their own shadows, faster than/Mad thoughts, gleaming vehicles in which/Jolly-looking people come from nowhere and are nowhere bound". The current stereotype appears to be Los Angeles as dystopia, as portrayed in movies such as Blade Runner, and promulgated in part by socialist urban critic Mike Davis, author of the influential nonfiction works City of Quartz and Ecology of Fear.

Other perceptions of Los Angeles suggest a town full of surfers, gang members and sleazy show biz types.

Los Angeles has gained the reputation as the "murder capital of the world" due to the high crime rate and as a high-speed police pursuit capital due to the large numbers of car chases that are televised on local television. The 1994 chase of O.J. Simpson is an infamous example.


The primary school district that serves Los Angeles is Los Angeles Unified School District.

Colleges and universities

Note: for more colleges and universities in the L.A. area, see Los Angeles County, California#Colleges and Universities

Sites of interest

Law and government

Main article: Law and Government of Los Angeles

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) polices the city of Los Angeles. (The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department polices all areas of L.A. county that do not have independent city police departments.)

The city has a mayor-council system. The current mayor is James Hahn. There are 15 city council districts. Other city leaders include the city attorney and the city controller. The City Attorney is distinct from the District Attorney, who serves the county, and prosecutes crimes in unincorporated areas and in 78 of the 88 cities in the county.

Los Angeles has 20 Sister Cities, more than any other municipality in California. Notable sister cities include Athens, Jakarta, Berlin, Mumbai, Vancouver, Mexico City and St. Petersburg.

See also: List of mayors of Los Angeles, California


Main article: Geography of Los Angeles

According to the official records of the City of Los Angeles, L.A. has a total area of 472.08 square miles. The extreme north-south distance is 44 miles, the extreme east-west distance is 29 miles, and the length of the city boundary is 342 miles.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1,290.6 km² (498.3 mi²). 1,214.9 km² (469.1 mi²) of it is land and 75.7 km² (29.2 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 5.86% water.

The highest point in Los Angeles is Elsie Peak at 5,080 feet. The city is mostly at sea level elevation or a few feet above.

The major waterway of Los Angeles is the Los Angeles River and water rights and battles have been a major part of this desert-bound city's history.

Seismic activity

Like most areas of California, Los Angeles' history is punctuated with major earthquakes, most recently the 1994 Northridge earthquake, centered in the northern San Fernando Valley. Coming less than two years after the civil unrest, the Northridge earthquake resulted in an additional shock to Southern Californians, in addition to billions of dollars in damage. Other major earthquakes include the 1987 Whittier Narrows earthquake and the 1971 Sylmar earthquake.

Urban layout

Greater Los Angeles (also referred to locally as "Southern California" or "The Southland") is such a sprawling area that residents refer to broad general sub-regions. It is not always meaningful to refer to Los Angeles as a distinct city, but people outside of Southern California commonly refer to the entire region as "L.A.", even though there are five counties, over 100 distinct municipalities, hundreds of neighborhoods and districts, and more people than any individual state except for Texas, New York, Florida, and, of course, California.

Some areas are defined by natural features such as mountains or the ocean; others are marked by city boundaries, freeways, or other constructed landmarks. For example, Downtown Los Angeles is the area of Los Angeles roughly enclosed by the freeways that ring the area: The Harbor Freeway to the west, the Hollywood Freeway to the north, the Los Angeles River to the east, and the San Bernardino Freeway to the south. Or, consider the San Fernando Valley: Lying north-northwest of Downtown L.A., "The Valley" is a 15 mile-wide basin ringed by mountains including the Hollywood Hills and Santa Monica Mountains to the south, the San Gabriel Mountains to the east, the Santa Susana Mountains to the north, and the Coastal Range to the west.

Some other areas of Los Angeles include the Westside; South L.A. (formerly South-Central L.A.); and San Pedro/the Harbor area. Adjoining areas that are outside the actual city boundaries of the incorporated city of Los Angeles include the South Bay, the San Gabriel Valley and the Foothills. Many more exist beyond and in the adjacent counties.

The city boundaries are quite complicated. Some areas such as Beverly Hills are independent cities from Los Angeles, but nontheless entirely surrounded by the City of Los Angeles.

Communities, neighborhoods and districts

For more communities and cities local to the L.A. area, see Los Angeles County, California.

These are neighborhoods within the city proper: Arleta, Arroyo Seco, Atwater Village, Baldwin Hills, Bel-Air, Beverlywood, Boyle Heights, Brentwood, Canoga Park, Century City, Chatsworth, Cheviot Hills, Chinatown, Downtown Los Angeles, Eagle Rock, Echo Park, El Sereno, Elysian Valley, Encino, Glassell Park, Granada Hills, Hancock Park, Highland Park, Hollywood, Holmby Hills, Koreatown, Leimert Park, Lincoln Heights, Los Feliz, Marina del Rey, Mar Vista, Mission Hills, Montecito Heights, Mt. Washington, North Hills, North Hollywood, Northridge, Olive View, Pacific Palisades, Pacoima, Palms, Panorama City, Pico-Union, Playa del Rey, Porter Ranch, Rancho Park, Reseda, San Pedro, Sawtelle, Sepulveda, Sherman Oaks, Silver Lake, Studio City, Sunland, Sunset Junction, Sun Valley, Sylmar, Tarzana, Toluca Lake, Tujunga, Universal City, Van Nuys, Venice, Watts, West Adams, West Alameda, Westchester, West Hills, Westwood, Wilmington, Winnetka, Woodland Hills

Area codes

Area code 213 - Downtown L.A
Area code 323 - Donut around downtown including greater Hollywood, East L.A, northern South-Central L.A
Area code 310 - West L.A and the
South Bay
Area code 562 - South-West L.A. County, Whittier area
Area code 626 - Pasadena, San Gabriel Valley
Area code 661 - Antelope Valley including Palmdale, Lancaster; Santa Clarita
Area code 818 - The San Fernando Valley, Glendale
Area code 909 - Pomona, parts of the east County


Main article: Economy of Los Angeles

The most important industries of Los Angeles are entertainment and media production, aerospace and telecommunications, law, tourism, health and medicine, manufacturing and transportation. The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are extremely important to trade on the Pacific Rim.


When approaching Los Angeles International Airport from the east, by jet, nighttime airline travellers will fly over 30 minutes and still glimpse the lights of the city, before landing.

The city is known for freeway gridlock of legendary proportions. Traffic laws are governed by a California principle called flow of traffic; speed laws are meant to ensure efficient flow, and drivers at the speed limit can get a ticket for driving too slowly, if the rest of the freeway is driving faster, at that moment. On a good day with free-flowing traffic, the skilled drivers of Los Angeles tend to travel in checkerboards, all at the same speed, to minimize the dangers of driving 1-car-length apart at speeds over 60 miles per hour; they accomplish this by monitoring the brake lights of the cars in front of them, as viewed through the windshields of the cars in front of them. If a driver leaves a larger gap, another car will simply fill in the gap, so drivers learn to leave no room for another car in front of them. When a brake light lights up, the drivers following will respond with the impressive phenomenon of an entire section of freeway slowing down at the same time. The news channels will then respond with reports on that freeway. There are at least a dozen freeways. The original freeway, known as the Arroyo Seco Parkway, running from downtown Los Angeles to Pasadena, opened January 1, 1940, when the first "traffic jam" occurred. Major freeways of Los Angeles include the San Diego (405) freeway, Ventura (101) freeway, Santa Monica (10) freeway, Harbor (110) freeway, Century (105) freeway, Simi Valley (118) freeway, the Foothill (210) freeway, Long Beach (710) freeway and the Golden State (5) freeway.

L.A.'s Union Station (a terminus) is the train station for Amtrak and Metrolink. Amtrak operates a somewhat less than hourly service to San Diego and less frequent services to the north, including the Coast Starlight to Seattle, once a day, a 34 hours ride. Also there is a daily service to Chicago and three times a week to Orlando, Florida.

The primary public transportation agency is Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, commonly referred to as MTA or Metro. The city has developed a sophisticated and modern subway as well as an extensive bus system. Additionally, a light rail system has been built connecting the central city section to the outer lying suburbs. Plans are underway to continue to expand the subway/light rail network and to create transportation methods that are an alternative to car travel.


The people of Los Angeles are known as "Angelenos". L.A. can truly be described as a "world city"--it has one of the largest and most diverse populations of any municipality anywhere. The Hispanic and Asian-American populations are growing particularly quickly--the Asian-American population is the largest of any city in the U.S. and the Mexican community is the biggest in the world after Mexico City and Guadalajara. L.A. also has one of the largest Native American populations in the country.

L.A. is home to people from more than 140 countries, who speak at least 92 different languages. Ethnic enclaves like Little Persia, Thai Town and Little Ethiopia give testimony to the polyglot character of Los Angeles.


As of the census of 2000, there are 3,694,820 people, 1,275,412 households, and 798,407 families residing in the city. The population density is 3,041.3/km² (7,876.8/mi²). There are 1,337,706 housing units at an average density of 1,101.1/km² (2,851.8/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 46.93% White (29.7% non-Latino white), 11.24% African American, 0.80% Native American, 9.99% Asian, 0.16% Pacific Islander, 25.70% from other races, and 5.18% from two or more races. 46.53% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 1,275,412 households out of which 33.5% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.9% are married couples living together, 14.5% have a female householder with no husband present, and 37.4% are non-families. 28.5% of all households are made up of individuals and 7.4% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.83 and the average family size is 3.56.

In the city the population is spread out with 26.6% under the age of 18, 11.1% from 18 to 24, 34.1% from 25 to 44, 18.6% from 45 to 64, and 9.7% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 32 years. For every 100 females there are 99.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 97.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $36,687, and the median income for a family is $39,942. Males have a median income of $31,880 versus $30,197 for females. The per capita income for the city is $20,671. 22.1% of the population and 18.3% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 30.3% are under the age of 18 and 12.6% are 65 or older.

Notable natives

Famous political figures born within the city of Los Angeles include Not surprisingly, the list includes many film and television stars (including second generation stars) The list also includes several musicians Other notables include Numerous other figures (too many to mention) were born elsewhere in Southern California or spent their childhood in the Los Angeles region.

See also

External links

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Counties and Largest Cities in California
Cities: Anaheim | Bakersfield | Fremont | Fresno | Glendale | Huntington Beach | Long Beach | Los Angeles | Modesto | Oakland | Oxnard | Riverside | Sacramento | San Bernardino | San Diego | San Francisco | San Jose | Santa Ana | Stockton
Counties: Alameda | Alpine | Amador | Butte | Calaveras | Colusa | Contra Costa | Del Norte | El Dorado | Fresno | Glenn | Humboldt | Imperial | Inyo | Kern | Kings | Lake | Lassen | Los Angeles | Madera | Marin | Mariposa | Mendocino | Merced | Modoc | Mono | Monterey | Napa | Nevada | Orange | Placer | Plumas | Riverside | Sacramento | San Benito | San Bernardino | San Diego | San Francisco | San Joaquin | San Luis Obispo | San Mateo | Santa Barbara | Santa Clara | Santa Cruz | Shasta | Sierra | Siskiyou | Solano | Sonoma | Stanislaus | Sutter | Tehama | Trinity | Tulare | Tuolumne | Ventura | Yolo | Yuba |