The Population of Los Angeles

Glendale and Los Angeles Skylines at Night

Carl Larson / Getty Images

The Los Angeles population can be looked at in a variety of ways; it can refer to the population of the City of Los Angeles, the County of Los Angeles, or to the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area, each of which is considered to be "L.A."

Los Angeles County, for instance, contains 88 cities including the City of Los Angeles, Long Beach, Santa Clarita, Glendale, and Lancaster, as well as several unincorporated communities whose combined population makes it the largest county in the United States in terms of occupancy.

The demographics of these populations are also varied and diverse, depending on where in Los Angeles and LA County you look. In total, the population of Los Angeles is about 50 percent white, nine percent African American, 13 percent Asian, about one percent Native American or Pacific Islander, 22 percent from other races, and about 5 percent from two or more races.

Population by City, County, and Metro Area

The City of Los Angeles is a very large one, it is the nation's second-largest city (following New York City). The January 2016 population estimate according to the California Department of Finance for the population of the City of Los Angeles was 4,041,707.

The County of Los Angeles is the largest county in the United States based on population, and according to the California Department of Finance, the LA County population as of January 2017 was 10,241,278. LA County is home to 88 cities, and the population of those cities varies from 122 people in Vernon to nearly four million in the City of Los Angeles. The largest cities in LA County are:

  1. Los Angeles: 4,041,707
  2. Long Beach: 480,173
  3. Santa Clarita: 216,350
  4. Glendale: 201,748
  5. Lancaster: 157,820

The United States Census Bureau estimates the population of the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Riverside, California Combined Statistical Area as of 2011 as 18,081,569. The LA metro population is the country's second-largest, following New York City (New York-Newark-Bridgeport, NY-NJ-CT-PA). This Combined Statistical Area includes the Metropolitan Statistical Areas of Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, and Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura.

Demographics and Population Growth

Although most of the population of the Los Angeles metropolitan area is centralized in the City of Los Angeles, its diverse population is spread over 4,850 square miles (or 33,954 square miles for the wider statistical area), with several of the cities serving as gathering spots for specific cultures.

For instance, of the 1,400,000 Asians living in Los Angeles, a majority live in Monterey Park, Walnut, Cerritos, Rosemead, San Gabriel, Rowland Heights, and Arcadia while the majority of the 844,048 African Americans that live in LA live in View Park-Windsor Hills, Westmont, Inglewood, and Compton.

In 2016, California's population grew but just under one percent, adding a total of over 335,000 residents to the state. While much of this growth was spread across the state, nine counties in northern and eastern California saw a decrease in population, which is a trend that's existed for the better part of the last 10 years.

The largest of these growth changes, though, happened in Los Angeles County, which added 42,000 people to its population, increasing it for the first time to over four million residents. 

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Rosenberg, Matt. "The Population of Los Angeles." ThoughtCo, Aug. 28, 2020, Rosenberg, Matt. (2020, August 28). The Population of Los Angeles. Retrieved from Rosenberg, Matt. "The Population of Los Angeles." ThoughtCo. (accessed February 4, 2023).