Los Angeles, California Facts

Fast Facts and Statistics about LA

Making Memories in LA
••• Making Memories in LA. ©Betsy Malloy Photography.

Putting the word "facts" and the words "Los Angeles" into a single phrase is an exercise if frustration. A fact about one part of the city can be simply wrong when applied to another.  LA is a complex, messy, chaotic city that's hard to summarize in a few hundred words and I"m not even going to try it. 

Tens of millions of people visit Los Angeles every year for their vacation. Many of them have ideas about the city that are - shall we say - less than true.

This page is designed to summarize a few of the easier to prove facts about LA.

Because the LA metropolitan area is so dense, it is impossible to know when you enter or leave the city of Los Angeles, or even Los Angeles county, except when you see a city limits sign. Because of that, these facts apply to the larger five-county Los Angeles metro area.

Los Angeles Facts and Figures

  • Almost 20 million people live in Los Angeles, Riverside, Ventura, Orange and San Bernardino Counties.
  • The five-county Los Angeles area would be the fourth largest state in the United States, if it stood on its own.
  • In 1781, the population was 44. When Los Angeles was founded that year 14 families lived in El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de Los Angeles de la Porciuncula (Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angeles of the Small Portion). The population grew, but the name shrank to simply "Los Angeles."
  • In 1950, about 2 million people lived in LA County. Today, it's more than 4 million.
  • The city flower is the bird of paradise 
  • The city tree is the coral tree.
  • More than 100 miles of beaches rim the metro area. No wonder Los Angeles is the home of the original Bay Watch television show. Los Angeles County has 75 miles of beaches, with 42 more in Orange County.
  • More than 80 stage theaters perform in LA
  • Los Angeles has more than 300 museums, more than any other city in the United States.
  • Los Angeles is the busiest container shipping port in the U.S. and one of the busiest in the world. 
  • Los Angeles is not a desert, despite what the fictitious Mayor Bagby had to say in the film Chinatown. Its image of an oasis with water and palm trees everywhere is fueled by water piped in from thousands of miles away and the city gets aan annual rainfall of only 15 inches (38 cm). 
  • Residents are typically called Angelenos (rhymes with casinos).
  • Los Angeles traffic is the worst in the USA, according to the LA Times. But the data that fueled that report only meausred what happens on the freeways and that doesn't mean everyone sits around all day long in gridlock.

Facts About Los Angeles Weather

Weather in Los Angeles is not always what visitors expect. Smog is worst in the summer, but so is fog (a component of smog) and there are often days in June when the beach cities are foggy all day, more like London than California. Temperatures are moderate all year, and evenings are always cool. Skies are clearest in winter, especially after a winter rain.

Nicknames for Los Angeles

Los Angeles is known by a number of nicknames, including

  • L.A.
  • City of Angels
  • Southland (typically used by local media)
  • Lalaland 

We've given you some of the facts here, but you may still have some misconceptions about Los Angeles. Take a look at some of the common myths about Los Angeles to find out how much you really know.