, or SoCal
, is defined as the southern portion of the U.S. State of California
. Seven full counties are included: Los Angeles
, San Diego
, San Bernardino
, and Imperial
, as well as the southern part of Santa Barbara
. The cities of Los Angeles
, San Diego
, and San Bernardino
anchor the region. Southern California is also divided into the Coastal Region (Orange, Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Ventura Counties) and the larger, more sparsely populated, Desert Region of the Inland Empire
(San Bernardino and Riverside counties) and the Imperial Valley (Imperial County). The counties of San Luis Obispo
are part of the Central Coast
and Central Valley
, therefore they are not part of Southern California.
The region is home to approximately 24 million people, which is more than half of California's population, and is the nation's second most populous region. Southern California combines three major metropolitan areas, each of which has over 3 million people: the Los Angeles metropolitan area
with over 12 million inhabitants, the Riverside-San Bernardino metropolitan area
with over 4 million inhabitants, and the San Diego metropolitan area
with over 3 million inhabitants. Southern California is known worldwide for its beaches, entertainment, and major transportation centers as well as having in its boundaries the global cities
of Los Angeles and San Diego.
Southern California features some of the best schools in the state such as the University of California, Los Angeles. Two of the west coast's major ports are located here, the Port of Long Beach and the Port of Los Angeles, as well as the smaller Port of San Diego. The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are the busiest on the west coast. SoCal also features LAX, the worlds fifth busiest airport.
Southern California is also the entertainment capital of the world and is home to Hollywood, the center of the motion picture industry. Headquartered in Southern California are The Walt Disney Company, Sony Pictures, Universal, MGM, Paramount Pictures (parent company of Dreamworks), 20th Century Fox and Warner Brothers as well as many more. Besides the entertainment industry, Southern California is also home to a large home-grown surf and skateboard culture.