Demographics of Los Angeles

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The demographics of Los Angeles are determined by population surveys such as the American Community Survey and the United States Census. According to the 2005-2009 American Community Survey, Los Angeles' population was 3,796,840.[1]

Race, ethnicity, and national origin[edit]

The 1990 United States Census and 2000 United States Census found that non-Hispanic whites were becoming a minority in Los Angeles. Estimates for the 2010 United States Census results find Latinos to be approximately half (47-49%) of the city's population, growing from 40% in 2000 and 30-35% in 1990 census.

The racial/ethnic/cultural composition of Los Angeles as of the 2005-2009 American Community Survey was as follows:[2]

Approximately 59.4% of Los Angeles' residents were born in the United States, and 0.9% were born in Puerto Rico, US territories, or abroad to American parents. 39.7% of the population were foreign-born. Most foreigners (64.5%) were born in Latin America. A large minority (26.3%) were born in Asia. Smaller numbers were born in Europe (6.5%), Africa (1.5%), Northern America (0.9%), and Oceania (0.3%).[3]


The city has witnessed a development of a Hispanic (mainly Mexican) cultural presence since its settlement as a city in 1769. Mexican-Americans have been one of the largest ethnic groups in Los Angeles since the 1910 census,[clarification needed] as Mexican immigrants and US-born Mexicans from the Southwest states came to the booming industrial economy of the LA area between 1915 and 1960. This migration peaked in the 1920s and again in the World War II era (1941–45).

The city's original barrios were located in the eastern half of the city and the unincorporated community of East Los Angeles. The trend of Hispanization began in 1970, then accelerated in the 1980s and 1990s with immigration from Mexico and Central America (especially El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala). These immigrants settled in the city's eastern and southern neighborhoods. By 2000, South Los Angeles was a majority Latino area, displacing most previous African-American and Asian-American residents. The city is often said to have the largest Mexican population outside Mexico and has the largest Spanish-speaking population outside Latin America or Spain. As of 2007, estimates of the number of residents originally from the Mexican state of Oaxaca ranged from 50,000 to 250,000.[4] Central American, Cuban, Puerto Rican, and South American nationalities are also represented.


According to the report "A Community Of Contrasts: Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in Los Angeles County" by the nonprofit group Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Los Angeles (formerly the Asian Pacific American Legal Center), Los Angeles County had 1,497,960 Asian Americans as of 2010. From 2000 to 2010 the Asian population in Los Angeles County increased by 20%.[5]

Within Los Angeles County, as of 2010 13 cities and places are majority Asian. As of that year, the City of Los Angeles had the highest numeric Asian population, with slightly fewer than 500,000. The city with the highest percentage of Asians was Monterey Park, which was 68% Asian. From 2000 to 2010 the city of Arcadia saw its population increase by 38%, the largest such increase in the county.[5]

As of 2010, in the world, except for the respective home countries, Los Angeles County has the largest populations of Burmese, Cambodian, Chinese, Filipino, Indonesian, Korean, Sri Lankan, and Thai people. In Los Angeles County the largest Asian ethnic groups were the Chinese and the Filipinos. In the period 2000-2010 the percentage of Bangladeshi Americans increased by 122%. Indian Americans, Pakistani Americans, Sri Lankan Americans, and other South Asian ethnic groups had, according to the report and as paraphrased by Elson Trinidad of KCET, "high growth rates".[5]

As of 2010, of the Asian ethnic groups, 70% of Japanese Americans were born in the U.S., the highest such rate of the ethnic groups. 19% of Japanese Americans were senior citizens, the highest such rate of the ethnic groups. From 2000-2010 the Japanese Americans increased by 1%, the lowest such rate of the ethnic groups.[5]

Pacific Islanders[edit]

According to the report "A Community Of Contrasts: Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in Los Angeles County" by the nonprofit group Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Los Angeles, Los Angeles County had 54,169 Pacific Islanders as of 2010. From 2000 to 2010 the Pacific Islander population in Los Angeles County increased by 9%. In 2010 the City of Los Angeles had 15,000 Pacific Islanders, the numerically largest in the county. The largest such per capita population was in Carson. From 2000 to 2010 the number of Pacific Islanders in Glendale increased by 74%, the largest such increase in the county.[5]

The population of Fijian Americans in the county grew by 68% during 2000-2010, making them the fastest growing Pacific Islander group. Los Angeles County, as of 2013, has the largest population of non-immigrant Native Hawaiians on the mainland United States.[5]

Ethnic Enclaves[edit]

Ethnic enclaves like Chinatown, Historic Filipinotown, Koreatown, Little Armenia, Little Ethiopia, Little Bangladesh in Mid-City, Los Angeles, Little Moscow in Hollywood, Little Tokyo, several Little Saigons, Tehrangeles in West Los Angeles and Thai Town provide examples of the polyglot multicultural character of Los Angeles.

Historical demographics[edit]

Historically, there was limited immigration to Los Angeles from Europe through the ports of San Pedro, Long Beach, and Venice. In the first half of the 20th century there were Irish, Italian, Greek, Croatian, Polish, German, Jewish, and Armenian neighborhoods in Bunker Hill (in what is now the Civic Center of Los Angeles) and in Boyle/Lincoln Heights.

In the 1870s Mormons from Utah were recruited to settle in the Los Angeles basin and contributed to the development of its local economy. In the 1930s thousands of Okies and other displaced rural whites from the dust bowl-struck Great Plains and Southern United States settled down in the Arroyo Seco and Elysian Park neighborhoods.

Since World War II (1945 onward) most whites in these neighborhoods have relocated to other parts of the city (i.e. the San Fernando Valley and Westwood, Los Angeles), nearby suburbs including Orange County and Simi Valley in Ventura County, and other parts of Southern California.


According to the 2006-2008 American Community Survey, the linguistic composition of Los Angeles was as follows out of a population of 3,473,790 people over the age of 5:[6]

  • Language other than English: 59.8% (2,076,235)
  • Speak English less than "very well": 30.5% (1,058,358)
  • Spanish: 43.6% (1,513,106)
  • Speak English less than "very well": 23.2% (806,252)
  • Asian languages and Pacific Islander languages: 7.9% (275,109)
  • Speak English less than "very well": 4.0% (140,058)
  • Other languages: 1.3% (45,559)
  • Speak English less than "very well": 0.4% (13,141)

Households and educational attainment[edit]

According to the 2006-2008 American Community Survey, the types of households were as follows out of 1,275,534 total:[7]

  • Family households: 61.1% (778,991)
  • With own children under 18 years: 30.9% (394,253)
  • Married-couple family: 39.1% (498,998)
  • With own children under 18 years: 19.6% (250,054)
  • Male householder, no wife present, family: 6.9% (88,600)
  • With own children under 18 years: 3.0% (38,239)
  • Female householder, no husband present, family: 15.0% (191,393)
  • With own children under 18 years: 8.3% (105,960)
  • Non-family households: 38.9% (496,543)
  • Householder living alone: 30.2% (385,843)
  • 65 years and over: 8.0% (102,016)
  • Households with one or more people under 18 years: 34.6% (441,723)
  • Households with one or more people 65 years and over: 21.1% (268,624)
  • Average household size: 2.87
  • Average family size: 3.67

According to the same survey, the educational status of residents over 25 years (2,407,775 total) was as follows:[8]

  • Less than 9th grade: 15.9% (383,385)
  • 9th to 12th grade, no diploma: 11.1% (267,833)
  • High school graduate: 21.1% (509,021)
  • Some college, no degree: 16.7% (402,973)
  • Associate's degree: 5.9% (141,764)
  • Bachelor's degree: 19.2% (462,701)
  • Graduate or professional degree: 10.0% (240,098)
  • Percent high school graduate or higher: 73.0%
  • Percent bachelor's degree or higher: 29.2%

Income and poverty[edit]

According to the 2006-2008 American Community Survey, the income status of residents was as follows:[9]

  • Median household income: $48,610
  • Mean household income: $76,557
  • Median family income: $53,008
  • Mean family income: $83,965
  • Median non-family income: $38,227
  • Mean non-family income: $61,155

According to the same survey, the poverty status of residents was as follows:[10]

  • All families: 15.6%
  • Married-couple families: 10.2%
  • Families with female householder, no husband present: 30.1%
  • All people: 18.9%
  • Under 18 years: 27.8%
  • 18 years and over: 16.0%
  • 18 to 64 years: 16.5%
  • 65 years and over: 12.9%


According to the 2006-2008 American Community Survey, the employment status of residents was as followsSource:[11]

  • Population 16 years and over: 2,923,315
  • In labor force: 65.8% (1,924,833)
  • Civilian labor force: 65.8% (1,923,236)
  • Employed: 61.3% (1,792,596)
  • Unemployed: 4.5% (130,640)
  • Armed Forces: 0.1% (1,597)
  • Not in labor force: 34.2% (998,482)

Additional information[edit]

The city has the most Druze living anywhere in the world outside Lebanon or Syria.[12]

The world's largest population of Saudi Arabian expatriates (est. 20,000) according to the Saudi Embassy of the USA.[13]

About 15,000 Louisiana Creole persons of Acadian and Cajun background from Louisiana and the U.S. Gulf coast, many live in south-central L.A. alone.[14]

In the 1980 and 1990 Census, Bosnians established themselves in fairly large numbers in L.A. before the breakup of the former Yugoslavia and Bosnian Civil War of the 1990s. However, Yugoslav immigration was present in Los Angeles and Southern California (i.e. San Pedro, Los Angeles) since the turn of the 20th century.[15]

Azerbaijani and Central Asian nationalities made an ethnic presence in Silver Lake/Elysian Park and Los Feliz/Hollywood.[16]

The city has a sizable Puerto Rican community (50,000 out of 145,000 in California), with just as many in San Diego, the largest outside the East coast and also Puerto Rico.[17]

Once a tradition the descendants of original Anglo-American settlers whom represented civic leaders and economic influence in the city of L.A. held Iowa picnics in MacArthur Park, but that's no longer held since the early 1970s.[18]

The LGBT majority neighborhoods in West Hollywood and parts of Long Beach are important demographic factors in L.A. known for having a Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgendered community.[19]

Persons of the Ba'hai faith,[20] Mormons in the Latter-Day Saints churches,[21] Seventh Day Adventists with its church-operated Loma Linda University,[22] and the Church of Scientology headquarters are large theological/religious influences in Los Angeles and throughout Southern California.[23] Los Angeles has the largest Roman Catholic Archdiocese (Archdiocese of Los Angeles) in the USA.[24]

Cherokee Indians, among other Native American tribes such as the Apache, Choctaw, Comanche, Hopi, Muscogee (Creek), Navajo, Nez Perce, Paiute, Shawnee and Zuni made Los Angeles probably have the largest Urban Indian population.[25]

L.A. along with Pasadena in the turn of the 20th century were one of two earliest world-known retirement communities to attracted a large number of senior citizens looked for a warmer climate to better fight health ailments.[26]

See also[edit]


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  4. ^ "Sounds in Oaxacalifornia: Gala Porras-Kim Investigates Indigenous Tones, 18th Street Arts Center". Artbound – KCET – Los Angeles. 2012-07-31. Retrieved 2012-08-07. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f Trinidad, Elson. "L.A. County is the Capital of Asian America" (Archive). KCET. September 27, 2013. Retrieved on April 3, 2014.
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