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Bajalta California Megaregion
Megaregion of North America
Los Angeles
Los Angeles
San Diego
San Diego

 United States ,
Flag of Mexico.svg Mexico

Population 26.2 million

Bajalta California is megaregion (megalopolis) set on the border of two of the Californias: California and Baja California, also on the international border of the United States and Mexico. Bajalta California is on the North American Pacific Coast and contains some of the largest metropolitan and transnational metropolitan areas in the world, namely the Greater Los Angeles metropolitan area and the San Diego-Tijuana metro area. It consists of part of the State of Californias' Southern California megaregion and the northern municipalities of Baja California. As a megaregion it is roughly fourth-fifth largest in the United States.

The region is an economic powerhouse for the North American continent sporting a well rounded economy: tourism in the South Coast, a primary source of winter produce and site for renewable energy in the Imperial Valley, world lead in the entertainment industry in the Southland, largest cluster of bio-tech related sciences in San Diego.[1][2][3][4] Baja Californias' large, skilled, relatively inexpensive workforce, and proximity to Southern California makes for an attractive environment that allows foreign, primarily American and Californian, companies to establish extensive industrial parks, taking advantage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to export products around the globe.

As defined by Michael Dear and Gustavo Leclerc of the University of Southern California, Bajalta California stretches from the global cities of Los Angeles and San Diego to the cities of Tijuana and Mexicali, containing the Los Angeles metropolitan area, San Diego metropolitan area, Tijuana metropolitan area, and Mexicali metropolitan area. Note that the term "Bajalta California" appears to be used almost exclusively, per Google, in discussions of Dear & Leclerc's book.

To the west of Bajalta California lies the Pacific Ocean, to the south lies Ensenada Municipality and Baja California Sur, to the east lies the Gulf of California, and to the north lies Californias' Central Valley and Coastal California.

Urban landscape[edit]

Bajalta California is the fourth largest megapolitan area in North America. Its urban area stretches along the coast more than 200 miles (322 km) from Oxnard to Rosarito Beach. The urban area faces two major obstacles in complete urbanization of the region. The first being Camp Pendleton, a United States amphibious training base separating the Southland and San Diego-Tijuana. As a result of the location of the base, development instead turns to the Fallbrook-Temecula corridor along Interstate 15. The other obstacle is the desert region of Inland Southern California that separates eastern San Diego Metro from urban Imperial-Mexicali. Instead of developing across miles of desert, the once separate urban areas instead connect north of the Salton Sea as growth now occurs between the Coachella and Imperial valleys. With more than 20 million people, Bajalta is large enough to support over three urban centers including Los Angeles, San Diego and Mexicali.

Metropolitan Los Angeles with its many business districts is the largest urban area in the region


Los Angeles-Long Beach-Riverside, In addition to being a global hub, Los Angeles exerts a strong economic force on its urban area. Its influence is seen from the northern reaches of Thousand Oaks, to the southern reaches of Orange County and the cosmopolitan centers of The Inland Empire. Though these smaller regions maintain their own spheres of influence, they are all encompassed by Los Angeles and its sphere.

Long Beach is an important maritime Gateway City with the Port of Long Beach, the second largest container port in the United States. Riverside and San Bernardino, the largest cities in the Inland Empire, are governmental centers. San Bernardino is set with the support of other Inland Empire cities to become a top tier city in the region with prestigious redevelopment projects in the planning process, while most are currently being executed.

San Diego-Tijuana-Carlsbad, San Diego's influence is strongest within its urban area, though this is not to say it does not have influence elsewhere - as in Temecula and Murrieta. It sets the standard for cities in San Diego County and draws many workers from the farthest reaches of its metropolitan area. San Diego's metropolitan area is separated from Los Angeles and its satellites and thus is able to maintain strong influence without interference from its larger counterpart to the north. In Tijuana, the influence of San Diego is keenly noted where the economy has evolved itself to utilize the fiscal opportunities presented by San Diego's tourist populous.

The political boundary of the international border acts as a dilution to influence from San Diego and the north. As a result, Tijuana is able to maintain its own sphere of influence where the northern Global Cities maintain little interference. Because of this Tijuana serves as an economic center for northwestern Baja California and nearby Rosarito Beach.

El Centro-Calexico-Mexicali, The Salton Valley metropolitan centers of El Centro and Mexicali serve as the regional hub of desert Bajalta. Here where Mexicali is the most influential city, it has the larger sphere of influence. Mexicali draws many tourists from adjacent areas as well as workers serving in a cosmopolitan center with an increasingly diversifying economy.

Ensenada, Further south, Ensenada is arguably isolated from the coastal centers. This is, however, set to change as major projects are set to begin along the Tijuana-Ensenada freeway, including an international airport set to link to major global centers around the world including Frankfurt and Shanghai.


Bajalta California is dominated by a Mediterranean climate. Its coastal areas enjoy a mild climate with warm summers and cool wet winters, leading tourists to call areas such as San Diego paradise. However as one crosses the Peninsular Ranges, which act as a natural partition to coastal and inland Bajalta, the inland areas are much drier, receiving much less rainfall.

Running water flows either to the west draining in the Pacific Ocean, the south and into the Gulf of California, or end up in the Salton Sea.

Bajalta sits on a vary active tectonic region and as a result receives many earthquakes and tremors throughout the year. Notable faults include the southern end of the San Andreas Fault. It is predicated the eventually the Baja Peninsula will move so far north to where it will become the new West Coast of a large part of the continental United States.


Bajalta California region in summer

Metropolitan areas[edit]

Populations for U.S. areas are U.S. Census estimates as of January 1, 2009.[5]

Rank Metropolitan statistical area State(s) Population
1 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana CA 15,250,000
2 Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario CA 4,143,113
3 San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos CA 3,053,793
4 Tijuana-Rosarito Beach BCN 1,784,034
5 Mexicali BCN 975,344
6 Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura CA 836,080
7 El Centro CA 179,254
Combined MSAs US-Mexico 26,221,618
Rank International Metro Area State(s) Population
2 San Diego-Tijuana CA-BCN 5,105,769
5 Calexico-Mexicali CA-BCN 1,154,598

Core population[edit]

The core population of the megaregion consists of seven metropolitan areas, seven counties and two municipalities that add up to a population 26,221,618.

Additional populations[edit]

Populations are U.S. Census estimates as of January 1, 2009.[6][5] Various arguments can be made, based on varying criteria, for including some or all of the following urban areas:

Adjusted Total: 33,747,031

Largest cities in Bajalta California[edit]

Major cities of Bajalta with a population of over 200,000. Of the cities below, the three largest: Los Angeles, Tijuana, and San Diego are global cities. Mexicali is a growing economic center that hopes to capitalize on the beginning Silicon Border project with the Imperial Valley. Long Beach maintains critical influence to the global economy with the Port of Long Beach. Santa Ana is the governing center of Orange County. Ensenada serves as a tourist destination popular to many as well as maintaining the only deepwater port on the Baja Peninsula south of San Diego. Irvine is a financial center for Orange County and Southern California companies. Anaheim is an entertainment center of the region, known worldwide, with Disneyland parks and more. Riverside is the largest city of its respective metropolitan area, a critical industrial area handling cargo from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Glendale serves a second tier business district in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Huntington Beach is extremely well known for its classic Southern California beach lifestyle and culture.



  • Dear, Michael, and Gustavo Leclerc. Postborder City: Cultural Spaces of Bajalta California, Routledge, 2003. ISBN 0-415-94420-1

See also[edit]

Category:Geography of Southern California Category:Geography of Baja California