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Los Angeles County (LA County), officially the County of Los Angeles, is the most populous county in the United States, with more than 9.8 million residents. Its population is greater than that of 40 individual U.S. states. Comprising 88 incorporated cities and many unincorporated areas within a total area of 4,751 square miles (12,310 km2), it is home to more than a quarter of Californians and is one of the most ethnically diverse U.S. counties.
The county’s seat, Los Angeles, is the 2nd most populous city in the United States, with about 4 million residents. Most of the population of LA County resides in the south and southwest, with major population centers in the Los Angeles Basin, San Fernando Valley, and San Gabriel Valley. Other population centers are found in the Santa Clarita Valley, Pomona Valley, Crescenta Valley and Antelope Valley.
LA County has a total area of 4,751 square miles (12,310 km2), of which 4,058 square miles (10,510 km2) (85%) is land and 693 square miles (1,790 km2) (15%) is water. LA County borders 70 miles (110 km) of coast on the Pacific Ocean and encompasses mountain ranges, valleys, forests, islands, lakes, rivers, and desert. The Los Angeles River, Rio Hondo, Ballona Creek, the San Gabriel River and the Santa Clara River flow in LA County, while the primary mountain ranges are the Santa Monica Mountains and the San Gabriel Mountains. The western extent of the Mojave Desert begins in the Antelope Valley, in the northeastern part of the county.
The county is divided west-to-east by the San Gabriel Mountains, which are part of the Transverse Ranges of southern California, and are contained mostly within the Angeles National Forest. LA County includes San Clemente Island and Santa Catalina Island, which are part of the Channel Islands archipelago off the Pacific Coast.
Avalon Harbor (photo) in Avalon, CA [Santa Catalina Island]
Being the home of the U.S. motion-picture industry, since its inception in the early 20th century, has given LA County global prominence. With that said, LA County is commonly associated with the (Hollywood) entertainment and digital media industry; all five (5) major film studios - Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, Warner Brothers, Universal Pictures, and Walt Disney Studios - are located within the county.
Numerous other major industries also define the economy of LA County, including international trade supported by the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach, music recording and production, aerospace and defense, fashion, and professional services such as law, medicine, engineering and design services, financial services. High-tech sector employment within LA County is 368,500 workers, and manufacturing employment within the county is 365,000 workers. Overall, LA County has the 3rd largest metropolitan economy in the world, with a Nominal GDP of more than $1 trillion.
Hollywood Sign at Beachwood Drive (photo) in Hollywood Hills, CA
The county's most visited park is Griffith Park, owned by the City of Los Angeles. The county is also known for the annual Rose Parade in Pasadena, the annual Los Angeles County Fair in Pomona, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Los Angeles Zoo, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, the La Brea Tar Pits, the Arboretum of Los Angeles, Griffith Observatory (photo), Santa Anita (Horse) Racetrack and two car racetracks (Pomona Raceway and Irwindale Speedway), also the RMS Queen Mary located in Long Beach, and the Long Beach Grand Prix, and miles of beaches—from Zuma to Cabrillo.
Venice Beach is a popular attraction whose Muscle Beach used to attract throngs of tourists admiring hard-bodies. Today, it is more arts-centered. Santa Monica's pier is a well known tourist spot, famous for its Ferris wheel and bumper car rides. Further north in Pacific Palisades one finds the beaches used in the television series Baywatch. The fabled Malibu, home of many film and television stars, lies west of it.
The county holds a plethora of distinguished sporting and athletic venues, with various iconic sporting attractions like the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum – home of the USC Trojans Football Team (NCAA); the Galen Center - home of the USC Trojans Men's Basketball Team (NCAA); Rose Bowl Stadium – home of the UCLA Bruins Football Team (NCAA); Pauley Pavilion - home of the UCLA Bruins Men's Basketball Team (NCAA); Dodger Stadium (photo) – home of the LA Dodgers (MLB); BMO Stadium – home of the LA Football Club (MLS); Dignity Health Sports Park – home of the LA Galaxy (MLS); Crypto.com Arena – home of the LA Lakers (NBA), the LA Clippers (NBA) and the LA Kings (NHL); plus SoFi Stadium – home of the LA Rams (NFL) and the LA Chargers (NFL).
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