What's the population of Los Angeles?

The City of Los Angeles has about 3.8 million people. The L.A./Long Beach/Santa Ana area, the cities of which pretty much comprise one large city, has about 13 million people. The Greater Los Angeles Area includes Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside, and Ventura counties, and has about 18 million people.

Given that many people tell people, out of convenience, that they’re ‘from L.A.’ even when they don’t actually live in the City of L.A., how do you recon L.A.'s population? Do you count only the CIty of L.A.? Or do you include L.A., Long Beach, and Santa Ana? Or L.A. and Long Beach? Personally, I don’t include the Greater L.A. Area because San Bernardino, Riverside, and Ventura Counties are too far out.

Are they from the metropolitan statistical area?

Firstly, I think the cities need to be in Los Angeles County, so that cuts off a lot of question marks right there. Even though parts of (or all of) Orange County, Ventura County and San Bernadino County may be considered part of the LA area at a distance, no local would think of them as part of LA.

Santa Ana? Not Los Angeles. Long Beach? That’s more iffy, but I always thought of Long Beach as its own thing. It could go either way. Pasadena is not Los Angeles, but Burbank is so are Glendale, Santa Monica and West Hollywood and the other unincorporated cities that are more or less inside the city limits but don’t have much of a separate cultural identity. I can’t remember if Eagle Rock, Mt. Washington and Echo Park are legally part of Los Angeles or not, but they are all part of Los Angeles even if they aren’t. Inglewood is it’s own place, Norwalk, West Covina, Torrance and Downey are not.

The question gets complicated quickly though.

As that old joke goes, Los Angeles is 27 suburbs in search of a city.

The city is so sprawled out, and everyone drives everywhere - so when you live there, it all seems to be like “your town”, no matter how close/far you are from anywhere.

Population is hard to determine - I lived in West Hollywood and residents there were proud to say they were from West Hollywood, but would agree they were indeed part of “Los Angeles”. Same goes for people from Beverly Hills or Santa Monica - liked their small town identity, but would admit they fell under the Los Angeles umbrella.

It is hard to say what the population is - one neighborhood blends into the next, so even locals can’t be sure where boundary lines start/end. It gets even weirder when you work in an office and people sitting around you live in Pasadena, Long Beach, West Covina - it gets to the point that distance has no real meaning and everything is “greater Los Angeles”. My guess is that even someone from Riverside or Oxnard would probably go to Europe and just say they live in LA rather than try to explain where exactly they really do live.

Good luck at determining the population of LA - might as well nail some pudding to the wall while you are at it.

Los Angeles can be confusing. We have several cities that are actually Los Angeles. Not sure if they have their own school districts or not but they have a Los Angeles mailing address.

Pasadena, Glendale, Burbank, Santa Monica, San Fernando and West Hollywood are all incorporated cities surrounded by or adjoining Los Angeles.
Eagle Rock, Mt. Washington (where I grew up!), silver lake, Echo Park and a host of others are communities within Los Angeles. [/nitpick]
Personally I think of it as the population of the city proper, and of the entire basin if asked about the greater Los Angeles area.

This is an interesting map showing the city boundaries and the associated zip codes.

I couldn’t remember if Echo Park, Eagle Rock et al were communities or separate cities so I wanted to mention them in case they were like Glendale and Burbank. The communities up in that part of the geography play a little fast and lose with who is and who isn’t an incorporated part of Los Angeles.

New signs on the 405 say 4,000,000+

No they don’t. Those are parts of L.A., as is most of the Valley. No ambiguity, except for the uninformed.

I meant ER and EP are parts of L.A. Glendale and Burbank are separate municipalities.


If you click one level down into the map, you can mouse-over regions to see if they are cities, neighborhoods, unincorporated areas, etc.

Here is my personal sense of who counts as living “in L.A.” when talking in generailities about the L.A. vicinity (e.g., when someone on an airplane asks where you’re from and you don’t feel like getting into it.)

ETA: I’m aware that my circled region doesn’t actually include all of L.A.-proper…

You know, Johnny, it all depends upon who’s asking and why. If you want to compare the population to that of New York, for example, you really can’t just go by the city limits, as so many of the posts here make clear. On the other hand, if you want to address fiscal issues (trash collection, etc/), then you could do that. Culturally, I wouldn’t include most of Orange County, where some people are inexplicably happy to remain their whole lives without ever setting foot outside of the county line.

LAUSD is an entity unto itself–it isn’t part of any other government–city, county, etc. (Of course, it operates by state decree, and it’s funded primarily by way of state administration–as all school districts are–so it’s beholden to state laws, standards, etc.) It serves the population of the City of Los Angeles, but also many of the small cities surrounding the city of Los Angeles, such as Bell, Huntington Park, San Fernando, etc. On the other hand, Beverly Hills, Culver City, Burbank, Santa Monica and a few others have their own districts.

That’s not what I meant. I just meant that in North East LA you have a mix of incorporated and unincorporated areas and I had a brain fart earlier. This is in fact exactly what I said in my very first post.

I am not uninformed, just forgetful. I grew up in the East Valley. Went to high school in Hollywood and then to college at ucla. I lived there my whole life until about 2 years ago.

Four mil. I count the city proper only. It’s that simple for me.

Inglewood is its own place??? I grew up next door in Westchester (Home of Los Angeles International Airport) and always thought of myself as living in LA. My high school (Westchester) played games in the LA City division. Inglewood is part of LA. Its closer to downtown than Westchester.

Long Beach is iffy, but IMHO its LA.

Torrance, Gardena, Lawndale are all seperate cities. San Pedrro I think is Los Angeles. Torrance and Gardena have unincorporated strips that fall into Los Angeles zoning but mailing addresses within their respective cities. Narbonne and wilmington I believe are Los Angeles.

I count the entire county, so like 13 million

You left out a huge chunk of the City of LA proper, most of the San Fernando Valley (including my house BTW which is in the City of LA)

My list was based on my own feelings about cultural identity of the areas. I have several friends who live in Inglewood and it’s ilgot a totally different feel from any other place in LA and, in my own small sample size, the residents seem to identify more with Inglewood than with Los Angeles. Westchester is LA. Proximity to downtown has little to do with anything.