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Ethnic groups in Los Angeles facts for kids

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The 1990 United States Census and 2000 United States Census found that non-Hispanic whites were becoming a minority in Los Angeles. Estimates for the 2010 United States Census results find Latinos to be approximately half (47-49%) of the city's population, growing from 40% in 2000 and 30-35% in 1990 census.

The racial/ethnic/cultural composition of Los Angeles as of the 2005-2009 American Community Survey was as follows:

Approximately 59.4% of Los Angeles' residents were born in the 50 United States, and 0.9% were born in Puerto Rico, US territories, or abroad to American parents. 39.7% of the population were foreign-born. Most foreigners (64.5%) were born in Latin America. A large minority (26.3%) were born in Asia. Smaller numbers were born in Europe (6.5%), Africa (1.5%), Northern America (0.9%), and Oceania (0.3%).


The city has witnessed a development of a Hispanic (mainly Mexican) cultural presence since its settlement as a city in 1769. Mexican-Americans have been one of the largest ethnic groups in Los Angeles since the 1910 census, as Mexican immigrants and US-born Mexicans from the Southwest states came to the booming industrial economy of the LA area between 1915 and 1960. This migration peaked in the 1920s and again in the World War II era (1941–45).

The city's original barrios were located in the eastern half of the city and the unincorporated community of East Los Angeles. The trend of Hispanization began in 1970, then accelerated in the 1980s and 1990s with immigration from Mexico and Central America (especially El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala). These immigrants settled in the city's eastern and southern neighborhoods. Salvadoran Americans are the second largest Hispanic population in Los Angeles, a city which holds the largest Salvadoran population out side of El Salvador and the Salvadoran diaspora living abroad and overseas. These were refugees that arrived in the 1980s and 1990s during the Salvadoran Civil War which was part of the Central American Crisis. By 2000, South Los Angeles was a majority Latino area, displacing most previous African-American and Asian-American residents. The city is often said to have the largest Mexican population outside Mexico and has the largest Spanish-speaking population outside Latin America or Spain. As of 2007, estimates of the number of residents originally from the Mexican state of Oaxaca ranged from 50,000 to 250,000. Central American, Cuban, Puerto Rican, and South American nationalities are also represented.

In 2015, in the Los Angeles Times one of the editorials stated 44 percent of the city's population is Hispanic or Latino, which indicates the rate stagnated in the 2010s and Latinos cannot be a majority (or over half) of the population.

There's a shift of second and third generation Mexican-Americans out of Los Angeles into nearby suburbs, such as Ventura County, Orange County, San Diego and the Inland Empire, California region. Mexican and other Hispanic immigrants moved in East and South sections of L.A. and sometimes, Asian immigrants moved into historic barrios to become mostly Asian-American areas. Starting in the late 1980s, Downey has become a renowned Latino majority community in Southern California, and the majority of residents moved in were middle or upper-middle class, and second and third generation Mexican-Americans.

Asians and Pacific Islanders


According to the report "A Community Of Contrasts: Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in Los Angeles County" by the nonprofit group Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Los Angeles (formerly the Asian Pacific American Legal Center), Los Angeles County had 1,497,960 Asian Americans as of 2010. From 2000 to 2010 the Asian population in Los Angeles County increased by 20%.

Within Los Angeles County, as of 2010 13 cities and places are majority Asian. As of that year, the City of Los Angeles had the highest numeric Asian population, with slightly fewer than 500,000. The city with the highest percentage of Asians was Monterey Park, which was 68% Asian. From 2000 to 2010 the city of Arcadia saw its population increase by 38%, the largest such increase in the county.

As of 2010, in the world, except for the respective home countries, Los Angeles County has the largest populations of Burmese, Cambodian, Chinese, Filipino, Indonesian, Korean, Sri Lankan, and Thai people. In Los Angeles County the largest Asian ethnic groups were the Chinese and the Filipinos. In the period 2000-2010 the percentage of Bangladeshi Americans increased by 122%. Indian Americans, Pakistani Americans, Sri Lankan Americans, and other South Asian ethnic groups had, according to the report and as paraphrased by Elson Trinidad of KCET, "high growth rates".

As of 2010, of the Asian ethnic groups, 70% of Japanese Americans were born in the U.S., the highest such rate of the ethnic groups. 19% of Japanese Americans were senior citizens, the highest such rate of the ethnic groups. From 2000-2010 the Japanese Americans increased by 1%, the lowest such rate of the ethnic groups.

Pacific Islanders

According to the report "A Community Of Contrasts: Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in Los Angeles County" by the nonprofit group Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Los Angeles, Los Angeles County had 54,169 Pacific Islanders as of 2010. From 2000 to 2010 the Pacific Islander population in Los Angeles County increased by 9%. In 2010 the City of Los Angeles had 15,000 Pacific Islanders, the numerically largest in the county. The largest such per capita population was in Carson. From 2000 to 2010 the number of Pacific Islanders in Glendale increased by 74%, the largest such increase in the county.

The population of Fijian Americans in the county grew by 68% during 2000-2010, making them the fastest growing Pacific Islander group. Los Angeles County, as of 2013, has the largest population of non-immigrant Native Hawaiians on the mainland United States.


Middle Easterners

Middle Eastern groups in the Los Angeles area include Arab, Armenian, Iranian, and Israeli populations. The U.S. Census classifies them as "White".

Over 50% of Middle Eastern men in Los Angeles held professional and managerial jobs as of 1990. Compared to men, women of Middle Eastern backgrounds had less of a likelihood of having these positions. A large number of Middle Eastern immigrants to Los Angeles are self-employed.


As of the 1990 U.S. Census the Los Angeles area had 80,000 Arabs, making up 9% of the total number of Arabs in the United States. This was, outside of Metro Detroit, one of the largest Arab populations in the country. As of 1996 economic reasons were the primary reasons for Arab immigration.

Most Arabs in the Los Angeles area come from Egypt and Lebanon; Arabs from other countries in the Middle East and North Africa are present. Most Arabs in Los Angeles are Muslim, and some are Christians and Jews.

As of 1996, the self-employment rate of Arab managers and professionals in Los Angeles is over 50%.

The New Horizon School, a private Muslim day school in South Pasadena, was established in 1984 and had sponsorship of the Islamic Center of Southern California. 80% of its student body, as of 1988, was Muslim. The school had one daily hour of Arabic language instruction for its students.


As of the 1990 U.S. Census the Los Angeles area had 20,000 Israelis, making up 17% of the total number of Israelis in the United States. This was the second-largest Israeli population after that of New York City. As of 1996 economic reasons were the primary reasons for Israeli immigration.

As of 1996 most immigrants from Israel to Los Angeles are Jews who are Hebrew-speakers.

As of 1996, the self-employment rate of Israeli managers and professionals in Los Angeles is over 50%.


Native Americans and Alaskan Natives (including Latin American Indian groups) are a low-percentage, yet notable part of the population. Los Angeles is thought to have the largest Urban Indian community in the United States (est. above 100,000-about 2% or higher upwards to 5% of the city population) who belong to over 100 tribal nations. There are between 2,000 and 25,000 members of the Cherokee Nation based in Tahlequah, Oklahoma in the city and county respectively. There is the local Chumash tribe whose homeland encompasses the Los Angeles Basin and Central Coast of California. Native Americans in Los Angeles, like throughout the country, are referred to an "invisible minority" in the press.

Ethnic Enclaves

Ethnic enclaves like Chinatown, Historic Filipinotown, Koreatown, Little Armenia, Little Ethiopia, Little Bangladesh in Central Los Angeles, Little Moscow in Hollywood, Little Tokyo, several Little Saigons, Tehrangeles in West Los Angeles and Thai Town provide examples of the polyglot multicultural character of Los Angeles.

Historical demographics

Historically, there was limited immigration to Los Angeles from Europe through the ports of San Pedro, Long Beach, and Venice. In the first half of the 20th century there were Irish, Italian, Greek, Croatian, Serbian, Polish, German, Portuguese, and Armenian neighborhoods in Bunker Hill (in what is now the Civic Center of Los Angeles) and in Boyle/Lincoln Heights.

Los Angeles has a history of Jewish residents, and they used to have neighborhoods on the East side of Los Angeles in the early 20th century. Nowadays, Jews in Los Angeles tend to live in the West side and the San Fernando Valley.

In the 1870s Mormons from Utah were recruited to settle in the Los Angeles basin and contributed to the development of its local economy. In the 1930s thousands of Okies and other displaced rural whites from the dust bowl-struck Great Plains and Southern United States settled down in the Arroyo Seco and Elysian Park neighborhoods.

Since World War II (1945 onward) most whites in these neighborhoods have relocated to other parts of the city (i.e. the San Fernando Valley and Westwood, Los Angeles), nearby suburbs including Orange County and Simi Valley in Ventura County, and other parts of Southern California.

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