Los Angeles, CA: Wikis


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Los Angeles
—  City  —
Images, from top, left to right: Downtown Los Angeles in winter, Venice, Los Angeles, California, 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 the USA
Los Angeles
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 34°03′N 118°15′W / 34.05°N 118.25°W / 34.05; -118.25
Country United States United States
State California California
County Los Angeles County
Settled September 4, 1781
Incorporated April 4, 1850
 - Type Mayor-Council
 - Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
 - City Attorney Carmen Trutanich
 - City Controller Wendy Greuel
 - Governing body City Council
 - 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 (July 1, 2008)
 - City 3,833,995
 Density 8,205/sq mi (3,168/km2)
 Urban 12,175,434
 Metro 12,872,808
 - CSA 17,786,419
 - Demonym Angeleno
  (2nd U.S., 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, 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
Website lacity.org

Los Angeles (pronounced /lɒs ˈændʒələs/ los-AN-jə-ləs; Spanish: [los ˈaŋxeles], Spanish for "The Angels") is the second largest city in the United States,[1] and with a population of 3.8 million[2] is the largest city in the state of California and the Western United States. Additionally the city spans over 498.3 square miles (1,290.6 km2) in Southern California and is anchored to the world's 13th largest metropolitan area with 17.7 million people spread out over much of coastal Southern California. The Los Angeles–Long Beach–Santa Ana metropolitan area is home to nearly 12.9 million residents.[3] Los Angeles is also the seat of Los Angeles County, the most populated and one of the most multicultural counties[4] 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 as El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Angeles del Río de Porciúncula (The Village of Our Lady, the Queen of the Angels of the river of Porziuncola).[5] It became a part of Mexico in 1821, following its independence from Spain. 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; Mexico retained the territory of Baja California. Los Angeles was incorporated as a municipality on April 4, 1850, five months before California achieved statehood.

Often known by its initials, L.A., and nicknamed The City of Angels, Los Angeles is a world center 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. In 2008, Los Angeles was named the world's eighth most economically powerful city by Forbes.com, ahead of Shanghai and Toronto but behind New York City and Chicago.[6] 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.



The old city plaza, 1869

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.[7] 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.[8]

In 1771, Franciscan friar Junípero Serra built the Mission San Gabriel Arcangel near Whittier Narrows, in what is now called San Gabriel Valley.[9] 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).[10] 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 and Indian ancestry. More importantly, they were intermarrying.[11] The settlement remained a small ranch town for decades, but by 1820 the population had increased to about 650 residents.[12] Today, the pueblo is commemorated in the historic district of Los Angeles Pueblo Plaza and Olvera Street, the oldest part of Los Angeles.[13]

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.

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.

Railroads arrived when the Southern Pacific completed its line to Los Angeles in 1876.[14] Oil was discovered in 1892, and by 1923 Los Angeles was producing one-quarter of the world's petroleum.[15]

By 1900, the population had grown to more than 102,000 people,[16] putting pressure on the city's water supply.[17] 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 motion picture 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,[18] 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.[19] In 1960, non-Hispanic whites made up 82% of the population of Los Angeles County.[20] 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.[21]

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.[22]

Voters defeated efforts by the San Fernando Valley and Hollywood to secede from the city in 2002.[23]

Gentrification and urban redevelopment have occurred in many parts of the city, most notably Hollywood, Koreatown, Silver Lake, Echo Park and Downtown.[24]


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 Harbor Area, 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 Center, 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 Center, Dodger Stadium and La Placita Olvera/Olvera Street.


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 km2) of land and 29.2 square miles (76 km2) of water. The city extends for 44 miles (71 km) longitudinally and for 29 miles (47 km) latitudinally. The perimeter of the city is 342 miles (550 km). It is the only major city in the United States bisected by a mountain range.

The highest point in Los Angeles is Mount Lukens, also called Sister Elsie Peak.[25] Located at the far reaches of the northeastern San Fernando Valley, it reaches a height of 5,080 ft (1,550 m). Los Angeles is both flat and hilly. The hilliest parts of Los Angeles are the entire Santa Monica hills north of Downtown, areas immediately north of Downtown around Silver Lake, the entire eastern parts of L.A., the Crenshaw area, the San Pedro area, and areas around the San Fernando Valley. The major river is the Los Angeles River, which begins in the Canoga Park district of the city and is largely seasonal. The river is lined in concrete for almost its entire length as it flows through the city into nearby Vernon on its way to the Pacific Ocean.


Mallards on the Los Angeles River

Los Angeles is subject to earthquakes due to its location in the Pacific Ring of Fire. The geologic instability produces numerous fault lines both above and below ground, which altogether cause approximately 10,000 earthquakes every year.[26] One of the major fault lines 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.[27] 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.[26] 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; harbor areas were damaged by waves from the Valdivia earthquake in 1960.[28] The Los Angeles basin and metropolitan area are also at risk from blind thrust earthquakes.[29]


Echo Park as seen with Palm Trees

Los Angeles has a Mediterranean climate or Dry-Summer Subtropical (Köppen climate classification Csb on the coast, Csa inland), and receives just enough annual precipitation to avoid Köppen's BSh (warm semi-arid climate) classification. Los Angeles enjoys plenty of sunshine throughout the year, with an average of 320 sunshine days and only 40 days with measurable precipitation annually.[30]

The period of May through October is warm to hot and dry with average high temperatures of 74–84 °F (23–29 °C) and lows of 58–66 °F (14–19 °C), however temperatures frequently exceed 90 °F (32 °C) and occasionally reach 100 °F (38 °C) in inland areas (away from the moderating effect of the ocean).

The period of November through April is mild and somewhat rainy with average high temperatures of 68–73 °F (20–23 °C) and lows of 48–53 °F (9–12 °C), but temperatures can occasionally drop to the low 40s (~5°C) or be as high as 80 °F (27 °C) for a few days during winter.[31]

The Los Angeles area is also subject to phenomena typical of a microclimate. As such, the temperatures can vary as much as 18°F (10°C) between inland areas and the coast, with a temperature gradient of over one degree per mile (1.6 km) from the coast inland. California has also 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 inches (381.00 mm) of precipitation annually, which mainly occurs during the winter and spring (November through April) with generally light rain showers, but sometimes as heavy rainfall and thunderstorms. The coast gets slightly less rainfall, while the mountains get slightly more. Years of average rainfall are rare; the usual pattern is bimodal, with a short string of dry years (perhaps 7–8 inches/180–200 millimetres) 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 (5.08 cm) in 1932.[32][33]

Climate data for Los Angeles (LAX)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 65.7
Daily mean °F (°C) 56.7
Average low °F (°C) 47.8
Precipitation inches (mm) 2.4
Avg. precipitation days 4.5 4.6 4.9 2.5 0.6 0.2 0.2 0.4 1.0 1.4 3.1 3.8 27.2
Source: World Meteorological Organization (UN)[34] 11 June 2009


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)[35] and the official flower of Los Angeles is the Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae).[36]

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".[37] 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.[38] Unlike other large cities that rely on rain to clear smog, Los Angeles gets only 15 inches (381.00 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, amongst other pollution reducing measures taken.[39]

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.[40][41] In 2008, the city was ranked the second most polluted and again had the highest year-round particulate pollution.[42] 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.[43][44]


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
Cruise ship at the Port of 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 center in the western United States.[45] 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.[45] 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 center in the world, after the Greater Tokyo Area and the New York-Newark-Bridgeport CSA.[46][47][48] If counted as a country, the surrounding CSA has the 15th largest economy in the world in terms of nominal GDP, placing it just below Australia and above the Netherlands, Turkey, Sweden, Belgium, and Indonesia.[49]

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 six Fortune 500 companies. They are aerospace contractor Northrop Grumman, energy company Occidental Petroleum, healthcare provider Health Net, metals distributor Reliance Steel & Aluminum, engineering firm AECOM, and real estate group CB Richard Ellis.

Other companies headquartered in Los Angeles include City National Bank, 20th Century Fox, Latham & Watkins, Univision, Metro Interactive, LLC, Premier America, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, DeviantArt,[50] Guess?, O’Melveny & Myers; Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker, Tokyopop, The Jim Henson Company, Paramount Pictures, Sunkist Growers, Incorporated, Tutor Perini, Fox Sports Net, Capital Group, 21st Century Insurance, and The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. Korean Air's US passenger and cargo operations headquarters are located in two separate offices in Los Angeles.[51]

The metropolitan area contains the headquarters of companies who moved outside of the city to escape its taxes but keep the benefits of proximity.[52] 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.[53] The companies below benefit from their proximity to Los Angeles, while at the same time avoiding the city's taxes (and other problems).

Some of the major companies headquartered in the cities of Los Angeles county are Shakey's Pizza (Alhambra), Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Beverly Hills), Hilton Hotels (Beverly Hills), DIC Entertainment (Burbank), The Walt Disney Company (Fortune 500 – Burbank), Warner Bros. (Burbank), Countrywide Financial (Fortune 500 – Calabasas), THQ (Calabasas), Belkin (Compton), Sony Pictures Entertainment (parent of Columbia Pictures, located in Culver City), DirecTV (El Segundo), Mattel (Fortune 500 – El Segundo), Unocal Corporation (Fortune 500 – El Segundo), DreamWorks (Glendale), Sea Launch (Long Beach), ICANN (Marina del Rey), Cunard Line (Santa Clarita), Princess Cruises (Santa Clarita), Activision (Santa Monica), and RAND (Santa Monica).

The University of Southern California (USC) is the city's largest private sector employer and contributes $4 billion annually to the local economy.[54] Los Angeles is classified as a "beta+ world city" in a 2008 study by a research group at Loughborough University in England.[55]

In January 2010 many of the aerospace firms with operations in Los Angeles County are relatively small compared to the larger corporations.[56]


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.[57] 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."[58]

Los Angeles is home to Hollywood, globally recognized as the epicenter of the motion picture industry. Although Bollywood produces more films, Hollywood's worldwide revenues far exceed those of Bollywood.[59] 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.[60] 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, theater, dance, and performing groups.[61] According to the USC Stevens Institute for Innovation, "there are more than 1,100 annual theatrical productions and 21 openings every week."[62] The Los Angeles Music Center is one of the three largest performing arts complexes in the nation.[63] The Walt Disney Concert Hall, the centerpiece of the Music Center, is home to the prestigious Los Angeles Philharmonic. Notable organizations such as Center Theatre Group and the Los Angeles Master Chorale along with the rising Los Angeles Opera are also resident companies of the Music Center. 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;[64] Los Angeles has more museums per capita than any other city in the world.[65] The most notable museums are the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (the largest encyclopedic museum west of Chicago), the Getty Center (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.


The Fox Plaza in Century City, headquarters for 20th Century Fox, is a major financial district for West Los Angeles

The major daily newspaper in the area is the Los Angeles Times; La Opinión is the city's major Spanish-language paper. Investor's Business Daily is distributed from its L.A. corporate offices, which are headquartered in Playa Del Rey. There are also a number of smaller regional newspapers, alternative weeklies and magazines, including the Daily News (which focuses coverage on the San Fernando Valley), LA Weekly, Los Angeles CityBeat, L.A. Record (which focuses coverage on the music scene in the Greater Los Angeles area), Los Angeles magazine, Los Angeles Business Journal, Los Angeles Daily Journal (legal industry paper), The Hollywood Reporter and Variety (entertainment industry papers), and Los Angeles Downtown News. In addition to the English- and Spanish-language papers, numerous local periodicals serve immigrant communities in their native languages, including Armenian, Korean, Persian, Russian, Chinese and Japanese. Many cities adjacent to Los Angeles also have their own daily newspapers whose coverage and availability overlaps into certain Los Angeles neighborhoods. Examples include The Daily Breeze (serving the South Bay), and The Long Beach Press-Telegram.

Los Angeles and New York City are the only two media markets to have all seven VHF allocations possible assigned to them.[66]

Los Angeles Times Headquarters

The city's first television station (and the first in California) was KTLA, which began broadcasting on January 22, 1947. The major network-affiliated television stations in this city are KABC-TV 7 (ABC), KCBS 2 (CBS), KNBC 4 (NBC), KTTV 11 (Fox), KTLA 5 (The CW), and KCOP-TV 13 (MyNetworkTV), and KPXN 30 (i). There are also three PBS stations in the area, including KCET 28, KOCE-TV 50, and KLCS 58. World TV operates on two channels, KNET-LP 25 and KSFV-LP 6. There are also several Spanish-language television networks, including KMEX-TV 34 (Univision), KFTR 46 (TeleFutura), KVEA 52 (Telemundo), and KAZA 54 (Azteca América). KTBN 40 (Trinity Broadcasting Network), is a religious station in the area.

Several independent television stations also operate in the area, including KCAL-TV 9 (owned by CBS Corporation), KSCI 18 (focuses primarily on Asian language programming), KWHY-TV 22 (Spanish-language), KNLA-LP 27 (Spanish-language), KSMV-LP 33 (variety)—a low power relay of Ventura-based KJLA 57—KPAL-LP 38, KXLA 44, KDOC-TV 56 (classic programming and local sports), KJLA 57 (variety), and KRCA 62 (Spanish-language).


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.[67]

Staples Center, 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.[68] In 2003, then NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue indicated L.A. would get a new expansion team, a thirty-third franchise, after the choice of Houston over L.A. in the 2002 league expansion round.[69] 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.[70] Despite these efforts, and the failure to build a new stadium for an NFL team, L.A. 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 Staples Center, a sports and entertainment complex that also hosts concerts and awards shows such as the Grammys. Staples Center 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 based in Anaheim in Orange County.


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

The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Los Angeles leads the largest archdiocese in the country.[71] 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.[72] The grounds includes a visitors' center open to the public, the Los Angeles Regional Family History Center, 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.[73][74] 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.[75] (It is no longer a sacred space and is being converted to a museum and community center.)[76] 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 Center 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

Occidental College in the Eagle Rock neighborhood

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, American InterContinental University, American Jewish University, The American Musical and Dramatic Academy – Los Angeles campus, Antioch University's Los Angeles campus, Art Center College of Design (Art Center), Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, Claremont Colleges, 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), Mount St. Mary's College, National University of California, New York Film Academy in Universal City, CA, 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 Harbor 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.[77] 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.[78] 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.[79]


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.[80] 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.[81] 12% of Los Angeles commuters ride some form of public transportation, which places Los Angeles fourth among the 10 largest cities in the U.S. for the share of commuters using public transportation.[82]

The city's subway system is the ninth busiest in the United States and its light rail system is the country's third busiest.[83]

The rail system includes the Red and Purple subway lines, as well as the Gold, Blue, and Green light rail lines. The Metro Rapid buses are a bus rapid transit program 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.

Air transportation

LAX, the fifth busiest airport in the world

The main Los Angeles airport is Los Angeles International Airport (IATA: LAXICAO: KLAX). The fifth 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.[84] LAX is a hub for United Airlines[85]

Other major nearby commercial airports include:

The world's third busiest general-aviation airport is also located in Los Angeles, Van Nuys Airport (IATA: VNYICAO: KVNY).[86]


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 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.

The sea ports of the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach together make up the Los Angeles – Long Beach Harbor. There are also smaller, non-industrial harbors along L.A.'s coastline. Safety is provided at the only beach controlled by Los Angeles City by the highly trained Los Angeles City Lifeguards.[87]

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


A view of downtown Los Angeles from the air.
Historical populations
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%
2008 (Est.) 3,833,995 3.8%

As of the 2005–2007 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, White Americans made up 48.7% of Los Angeles's population; of which 29.3% were non-Hispanic whites. Blacks or African Americans made up 9.9% of Los Angeles's population; of which 9.7% were non-Hispanic blacks. American Indians made up 0.5% of the city's population; of which 0.2% were non-Hispanic. Asian Americans made up 10.6% of the city's population; of which 10.4% were non-Hispanic. Pacific Islander Americans made up 0.2% of the city's population; of which 0.1% were non-Hispanic. Individuals from some other race made up 27.3% of the city's population; of which 0.5% were non-Hispanic. Individuals from two or more races made up 2.8% of the city's population; of which 1.3% were non-Hispanic. In addition, Hispanics and Latinos made up 48.5% of Los Angeles's population.[90][91]

In the fall of 2008 the city's population exceeded 4,000,000 according to the California Department of Finance.[92] The 2000 census[93] 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/diverse 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.[94] 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).[95]

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.[96]

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.[93]

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.[93]

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.[93] Los Angeles has had a high degree of income disparity as compared to the rest of the country. Recently, however, income disparity has declined.[97] The median household income of the wealthiest neighborhood was $207,938, while in the poorest it was $15,003.[98]

Los Angeles is home to people from more than 140 countries speaking 224 different identified languages.[99] Ethnic enclaves like Chinatown, Historic Filipinotown, Koreatown, Little Armenia, Little Ethiopia, Tehrangeles, Little Tokyo, 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 Harbor 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).

Neighborhood councils

Bunker Hill in L.A.

Voters created Neighborhood 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 which are not necessarily identical to the traditional neighborhoods of Los Angeles.

Almost ninety neighborhood councils (NCs) are certified and all "stakeholders"—meaning anyone who lives, works or owns property in a neighborhood—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 neighborhood 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 $50,000 each for administration, outreach and approved neighborhood projects. In May 2009, the city council floated a measure to reduce the funding of the neighborhood councils to $11,200 each.

Crime and safety

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

The crime in Los Angeles has been a major problem in Southern California and concern for Angelenos. The Los Angeles crime family dominated organized crime in the city during the Prohibition era [100] 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.

Los Angeles has been experiencing significant decline in crime since the mid-1990s, and reached a 50-year low in 2009 with 314 homicides.[101][102] Antonio Villaraigosa is a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition.[103]

According to the Los Angeles Police Department, the city is home to 26,000 gang members organized into 250 gangs.[104] Among the most are the Crips, Bloods, Sureños, Mara 18, Mara Salvatrucha and various Asian street gangs. This has led to the city being referred to as the "Gang Capital of America".[105]

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.[106] This included 15 officer-involved shootings. One shooting led to a SWAT member's death, Randal Simmons, the first in LAPD's history.[107]

Federal representation

The United States Postal Service operates post offices in Los Angeles. The main Los Angeles Post Office is located at 7001 South Central Avenue.[108][109]

Sister cities

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

Los Angeles has 25 sister cities,[110] listed chronologically by year joined:

See also


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  4. ^ The most ethnically diverse counties in the United States - August 9, 2007
  5. ^ There is some question about the legitimacy of this name, which may have, through a series of misinterpretations and inflations, been corrupted from the actual name authorized in writing in 1781, "La Reina de Los Angeles". Cf. Theodore E. Treutlein, "Los Angeles, California: The Question of the City's Original Spanish Name", Southern California Quarterly 55, no. 1 (Spring 1973): 1–7. Historian Doyce B. Nunis, Jr., has traced the longer name to the histories written by the Franciscan missionaries, especially Francisco Palóu, who wished to play up the region's connections to their order. Pool, Bob, "City of Angels' First Name Still Bedevils Historians". Los Angeles Times (March 26, 2005), Sec. A-1.
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Further reading

  • Allen J. Scott and Edward W Soja (1996) "The City: Los Angeles and Urban Tjheory at the End of the Twentieth Century," Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press

External links


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