Los Angeles officially the City of Los Angeles, known colloquially by its initials L.A.) is the second-most populous city in the United States, after New York City, and the most populous city in the Western United States. With an estimated population of four million, Los Angeles is the largest and most populous city in the state of California and the cultural, financial, and commercial center of Southern California. Nicknamed the “City of Angels” partly because of its name’s Spanish meaning, Los Angeles is known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic diversity, and sprawling metropolis.
Los Angeles is located in a large basin bounded by the Pacific Ocean on one side and by mountains as high as 10,000 feet (3,000 m) on the others. The city proper, which covers about 469 square miles (1,210 km2), is the seat of Los Angeles County, the most populated county in the country. Los Angeles is the principal city of the Los Angeles metropolitan area; with a population of 13.1 million residents it is the second largest in the United States after that of New York City. It is part of the Los Angeles-Long Beach combined statistical area, also the second most populous in the nation with a 2015 estimated population of 18.7 million.
Los Angeles is one of the most substantial economic engines within the United States, with a diverse economy in a broad range of professional and cultural fields. Los Angeles is also famous as the home of Hollywood, a major center of the world entertainment industry. A global city, it has been ranked 6th in the Global Cities Index and 9th in the Global Economic Power Index. The Los Angeles combined statistical area also has a gross metropolitan product of $831 billion (as of 2008), making it the third-largest in the world, after the Tokyo and New York metropolitan areas. Los Angeles hosted the 1932 and 1984 Summer Olympics and will host the event for a third time in 2028. The city also hosted the Miss Universe pageant twice, in 1990 and 2006.
Historically home to the Chumash and Tongva, Los Angeles was claimed by Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo for Spain in 1542 along with the rest of what would become Alta California. The city was officially founded on September 4, 1781, by Spanish governor Felipe de Neve. It became a part of Mexico in 1821 following the Mexican War of Independence. In 1848, at the end of the Mexican–American War, Los Angeles and the rest of California were purchased as part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, becoming part of the United States. Los Angeles was incorporated as a municipality on April 4, 1850, five months before California achieved statehood. The discovery of oil in the 1890s brought rapid growth to the city. The completion of the Los Angeles Aqueduct in 1913, delivering water from Eastern California, later assured the city’s continued rapid growth.
The 2010 United States Census reported that Los Angeles had a population of 3,792,621. The population density was 8,092.3 people per square mile (2,913.0/km²). The age distribution was 874,525 people (23.1%) under 18, 434,478 people (11.5%) from 18 to 24, 1,209,367 people (31.9%) from 25 to 44, 877,555 people (23.1%) from 45 to 64, and 396,696 people (10.5%) who were 65 or older. The median age was 34.1 years. For every 100 females, there were 99.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.6 males.
There were 1,413,995 housing units—up from 1,298,350 during 2005–2009 —at an average density of 2,812.8 households per square mile (1,086.0/km²), of which 503,863 (38.2%) were owner-occupied, and 814,305 (61.8%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 2.1%; the rental vacancy rate was 6.1%. 1,535,444 people (40.5% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 2,172,576 people (57.3%) lived in rental housing units.
According to the 2010 United States Census, Los Angeles had a median household income of $49,497, with 22.0% of the population living below the federal poverty line.