Los Angeles at a Glance
Living in Los AngelesFotolia
Living in Los Angeles is not just for movie stars.
As an expat living in Los Angeles, you’ll find yourself in good company. People from 140 different countries call LA their home, and about 230 different identified languages are spoken by the various population groups living in Los Angeles. Nearly half of the roughly 3.8 million people living in Los Angeles are of Latino origin, and you’ll meet people from all sorts of racial and ethnic backgrounds. So if you enjoy a heterogeneous environment, life in Los Angeles has a lot to offer.
Living in Los Angeles: Quality of Life
The reasons why life in Los Angeles attracts so many people from around the world are manifold: There is, of course, the alluring power of Hollywood and LA as the Entertainment Capital of the World, but also the appeal of sunny California in general, with its interesting history as a former part of Mexico and the cultural implications that come with it.
Students living in Los Angeles benefit from the quality and variety of its academic institutions, such as the University of Southern California, the University of California in LA, the School of Cinematic Arts, Colburn School and USC Thornton School of Music.
The quality of life in Los Angeles is generally high, but so are the costs of living (more than 30% above the national average). This is partly due to expensive property and high rental values: Please read our article series on moving to Los Angeles for more information.
Decreasing crime figures and increasing gentrification of formerly rough areas have made living in Los Angeles rather safe, despite its negative reputation as the Gang Capital of America.
People living in Los Angeles enjoy a subtropical-Mediterranean climate with plenty of sunshine and hardly any rain. Winter temperatures range from 15 to 23 °C, rising to 32°C in the summer. An average of 12 hours of sunshine a day during the summer months and 60 miles of beach make sure that sunbathers and surfers living in Los Angeles always get their money’s worth.
Living in Los Angeles: Health and Safety
The summer is, unfortunately, also smog season in LA. It lasts from May to October and can have serious impacts on the quality of life in Los Angeles. The high air pollution is to a large extent caused by cars (ever popular among residents living in Los Angeles), the LA/Long Beach Port Complex and the manufacturing industry. It is aggravated by the lack of rain and LA’s geographical features.
Thus, while the smog season doesn’t much affect those living in Los Angeles’ hilly areas or directly on the ocean front, the layers of smog hovering over Downtown LA and the valleys can cause serious health issues for people living in Los Angeles, especially those with respiratory diseases. The government has taken several measures to tackle this problem, including the promotion of low-emission vehicles to car-owners living in Los Angeles through government incentives.
People living in Los Angeles also face a significant risk of earthquakes; however, these are usually of low intensity and cannot be felt. If you are totally unfamiliar with earthquakes, you may find this little Emergency Preparedness Booklet by the LA Fire Department helpful.
There are no other common health and safety risks associated with living in Los Angeles.