Southern California (popularly known as SoCal; es, Sur de California) is a geographic and cultural region that generally comprises the southern portion of the U.S. state of
California California is a U.S. state, state in the Western United States. With over 39.3million residents across a total area of approximately , it is the List of states and territories of the United States by population, most populous and the List of ...
. It includes the
Los Angeles metropolitan area File:Los Angeles, Winter 2016.jpg, 300px, Downtown Los Angeles in 2016 Greater Los Angeles, also called the Southland, with a 2019 population of 18,710,563, is the second-largest urban region area in the United States, encompassing five counti ...
, the second most populous
urban agglomeration An urban area, or built-up area, is a human settlement with a high population density and infrastructure of built environment. Urban areas are created through urbanization and are categorized by urban morphology as cities, town ...
in the
United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., federal di ...
. The region generally contains ten of California's 58 counties: Imperial, Kern,
Los Angeles Los Angeles (; es, Los Ángeles; "The Angels"), officially the City of Los Angeles and often abbreviated as L.A., is the List of cities and towns in California, largest city in California. With an estimated population of nearly four millio ...
, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino,
San Diego San Diego (, ; ) is a city in the U.S. state of California on the coast of the Pacific Ocean and immediately adjacent to the Mexico–United States border, United States–Mexico border. With an estimated population of 1,423,851 as of July 1, ...
, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Ventura counties. The
Colorado Desert California's Colorado Desert is a part of the larger Sonoran Desert. It encompasses approximately , including the heavily irrigation, irrigated Coachella Valley, Coachella and Imperial Valley, Imperial valleys. It is home to many unique flora and f ...
and the
Colorado River
Colorado River
are located on southern California's eastern border with
Arizona Arizona ( ; nv, Hoozdo Hahoodzo ; ood, Alĭ ṣonak) is a state in the Southwestern region of the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Conti ...
, and San Bernardino County shares a border with
Nevada Nevada (, ) is a U.S. state, state in the Western United States, Western region of the United States. It is bordered by Oregon to the northwest, Idaho to the northeast, California to the west, Arizona to the southeast, and Utah to the east. Ne ...
to the northeast. Southern California's southern border with Baja California is part of the Mexico–United States border.

Constituent metropolitan areas

Southern California includes the heavily built-up urban area which stretches along the Pacific coast from Ventura, California, Ventura through Greater Los Angeles down to Greater San Diego (the contiguous urban area in fact continuing into Tijuana, Mexico), and inland to the Inland Empire and Coachella Valley (Palm Springs area). It encompasses eight metropolitan areas (MSAs), three of which together form the Greater Los Angeles List of Combined Statistical Areas, Combined Statistical Area (CSA) with over 18 million people, the second-biggest CSA after New York metropolitan area, the New York CSA. These three MSAs are: the
Los Angeles metropolitan area File:Los Angeles, Winter 2016.jpg, 300px, Downtown Los Angeles in 2016 Greater Los Angeles, also called the Southland, with a 2019 population of 18,710,563, is the second-largest urban region area in the United States, encompassing five counti ...
(Los Angeles County, Los Angeles and Orange counties, with 13.3 million people), the Inland Empire (California), Inland Empire (Riverside County, (Riverside and San Bernardino County, San Bernardino counties, including the Coachella Valley cities, with 4.3 million people), and the Oxnard–Thousand Oaks–Ventura metropolitan area (0.8 million people). In addition, Southern California contains the San Diego metropolitan area with 3.3 million people, Kern County, California, Bakersfield metro area with 0.9 million, and the Santa Barbara County, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo County, San Luis Obispo, and Imperial County, California, El Centro (Imperial County) metropolitan areas. The Southern California Megaregions of the United States, Megaregion (or megalopolis) is larger still, extending northeast into Las Vegas,
Nevada Nevada (, ) is a U.S. state, state in the Western United States, Western region of the United States. It is bordered by Oregon to the northwest, Idaho to the northeast, California to the west, Arizona to the southeast, and Utah to the east. Ne ...
and south across the Mexico, Mexican border into Tijuana.


Within southern California are two major cities, Los Angeles and San Diego, as well as three of the List of United States metropolitan areas, country's largest metropolitan areas. With a population of approximately 4 million, Los Angeles is the most populous city in California and the second most populous in the United States. South of Los Angeles and with a population of approximately 1.4 million is San Diego, the second most populous city in the state and the eighth most populous in the nation. The counties of
Los Angeles Los Angeles (; es, Los Ángeles; "The Angels"), officially the City of Los Angeles and often abbreviated as L.A., is the List of cities and towns in California, largest city in California. With an estimated population of nearly four millio ...
San Diego San Diego (, ; ) is a city in the U.S. state of California on the coast of the Pacific Ocean and immediately adjacent to the Mexico–United States border, United States–Mexico border. With an estimated population of 1,423,851 as of July 1, ...
, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino are the five most populous in the state, and are among the top 15 most populous counties in the United States. The cinema of the United States, motion picture, television in the United States, television, and music of the United States, music industry are centered in the Los Angeles area in southern California. Hollywood, a district of Los Angeles, gives its name to the American motion picture industry, which is synonymous with the neighborhood name. Headquartered in southern California are The Walt Disney Company (which owns American Broadcasting Company, ABC), Sony Pictures, Universal Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, MGM, Paramount Pictures, and Warner Bros. Universal, Warner Bros., and Sony also run major record companies. Southern California is also home to a large homegrown surf and skateboard culture. Companies such as Vans, Volcom, Quiksilver, No Fear, RVCA, and Body Glove are all headquartered here. Skateboarder Tony Hawk; surfers Rob Machado, Timmy Curran, Bobby Martinez, Pat O'Connell (surfer), Pat O'Connell, Dane Reynolds, and Chris Ward (surfer), Chris Ward live in southern California. Some of the most famous surf locations are in southern California as well, including Trestles, Rincon (surfspot), Rincon, The Wedge (surfing), The Wedge, Huntington Beach, California, Huntington Beach, and Malibu, California, Malibu. Some of the world's largest action sports events, including the X Games, ASP World Tour, Boost Mobile Pro, and the U.S. Open of Surfing, are held in southern California. The region is also important to the world of yachting with premier events including the annual Transpacific Yacht Race, or ''Transpac'', from Los Angeles to Hawaii. The San Diego Yacht Club held the America's Cup, the most prestigious prize in yachting, from 1988 to 1995 and hosted three America's Cup races during that time. The first modern-era triathlon was held in San Diego's Mission Bay, San Diego, California, Mission Bay in 1974. Since then, southern California, and
San Diego San Diego (, ; ) is a city in the U.S. state of California on the coast of the Pacific Ocean and immediately adjacent to the Mexico–United States border, United States–Mexico border. With an estimated population of 1,423,851 as of July 1, ...
in particular, have become a mecca for triathlon and multi-sport racing, products and culture. Southern California is home to many sports franchises and sports networks such as Fox Sports Net. Many locals and tourists frequent the Southern Coast (California), southern California coast for its beaches. The inland desert city of Palm Springs, California, Palm Springs is also popular.

Northern boundary

Southern California is not a formal geographic designation and definitions of what constitutes southern California vary. Geographically, California's north–south midway point lies at exactly 37° 9' 58.23" latitude, around south of San Jose; however, this does not coincide with the popular use of the term. When the state is divided into two areas (northern and southern California), the term ''southern California'' usually refers to the 10 southernmost counties of the state. This definition coincides neatly with the county lines at 35° 47′ 28″ North latitude, which form the northern borders of San Luis Obispo, Kern, and San Bernardino counties. That closely matches the lower one-third of California's span of latitude. Another definition for southern California uses Point Conception and the Tehachapi Mountains as geographical landmarks for the northern boundary. Though there is no official definition for the northern boundary of southern California, such a division has existed from the time when Mexico ruled California and political disputes raged between the Californios of Monterey, California, Monterey in the upper part and Los Angeles in the lower part of Alta California. Following the acquisition of California by the United States, the division continued as part of the attempt by several pro-slavery politicians to arrange the division of Alta California at 36 degrees, 30 minutes, the Missouri Compromise line, line of the Missouri Compromise. Instead, the passing of the Compromise of 1850 enabled California to be admitted to the Union as a Slave and free states, free state, preventing southern California from becoming its own separate slave state. Subsequently, Californians (dissatisfied with inequitable taxes and land laws) and pro-slavery Southerners in the lightly populated "cow counties" of southern California attempted three times in the 1850s to achieve a separate statehood or territorial status Partition and secession in California, separate from Northern California. The last attempt, the Pico Act of 1859, was passed by the California State Legislature and signed by Governor of California, State Governor John B. Weller. It was approved overwhelmingly by nearly 75 percent of voters in the proposed Territory of Colorado (California), Territory of Colorado. This territory was to include all the counties up to the then much larger Tulare County (that included what is now Kings County, California, Kings, most of Kern, and part of Inyo County, California, Inyo counties) and San Luis Obispo County, California, San Luis Obispo County. The proposal was sent to Washington, D.C. with a strong advocate in Senator Milton Latham. However, the secession crisis following the U.S. presidential election, 1860, election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 and the subsequent American Civil War led to the proposal never coming to a vote. In 1900, the ''Los Angeles Times'' defined southern California as including "the seven counties of Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Orange, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura and Santa Barbara." In 1999, the ''Times'' added a newer county, Imperial, to that list. Southern California was the name of a Cal 3, proposed new state which failed to get on the 2018 California ballot. The ballot measure proposed splitting the existing state into three parts. The state is most commonly divided and promoted by its regional tourism groups, consisting of northern, central, and southern California regions. The two American Automobile Association, American Automobile Association (AAA) Auto Clubs of the state, the California State Automobile Association, and the Automobile Club of Southern California, choose to simplify matters by dividing the state along the lines where their jurisdictions for membership apply, as either northern or southern California, in contrast to the three-region point of view. Another influence is the geographical phrase ''South of the Tehachapis'', which would split the southern region off at the crest of that transverse range, but in that definition, the desert portions of north Los Angeles County and eastern Kern and San Bernardino Counties would be included in the southern California region due to their remoteness from the central valley and interior desert landscape. In December 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the state government led by Governor Gavin Newsom divided the state into five regions for the purpose of issuing stay-at-home orders. The Southern California region consists of the counties of Imperial, Inyo County, California, Inyo,
Los Angeles Los Angeles (; es, Los Ángeles; "The Angels"), officially the City of Los Angeles and often abbreviated as L.A., is the List of cities and towns in California, largest city in California. With an estimated population of nearly four millio ...
, Mono County, California, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino,
San Diego San Diego (, ; ) is a city in the U.S. state of California on the coast of the Pacific Ocean and immediately adjacent to the Mexico–United States border, United States–Mexico border. With an estimated population of 1,423,851 as of July 1, ...
, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura.

Urban landscape

Southern California consists of a heavily developed urban environment, home to some of the largest List of urbanized areas in California (by population), urban areas in the state, along with vast areas that have been left undeveloped. It is the third most populated megalopolis in the United States, after the Great Lakes Megalopolis and the Northeast megalopolis, Northeast Megalopolis. Much of southern California is famous for its large, spread-out, suburban communities and use of automobiles and highways. The dominant areas are Los Angeles, Orange County, California, Orange County, San Diego, and Riverside, California, Riverside-San Bernardino, California, San Bernardino, each of which are the centers of their respective metropolitan areas, composed of numerous smaller cities and communities. The urban area is also host to an international San Diego–Tijuana metropolitan region, created by the urban area spilling over into Baja California. Traveling south on Interstate 5 (California), Interstate 5, the main gap to continued urbanization is Camp Pendleton. The cities and communities along Interstate 15 (California), Interstate 15 and Interstate 215 (California), Interstate 215 are so interrelated that Temecula, California, Temecula and Murrieta, California, Murrieta have as much connection with the San Diego metropolitan area as they do with the Inland Empire (California), Inland Empire. To the east, the United States Census Bureau considers the San Bernardino and Riverside County areas, Riverside-San Bernardino area as a separate metropolitan area from Los Angeles County. Newly developed exurbs formed in the Antelope Valley, north of Los Angeles, the Victor Valley, and the Coachella Valley with the Imperial Valley. Also, population growth was high in the Bakersfield, California, Bakersfield-Kern County, Santa Maria, California, Santa Maria and San Luis Obispo, California, San Luis Obispo areas.


Most of southern California has a Mediterranean climate, Mediterranean-like climate, with warm and dry summers, mild and wet winters, where cool weather and freezing temperatures are rare. Southern California contains other types of climates, including semi-arid, desert climate, desert and mountain climate, mountain, with infrequent rain and many sunny days. Summers are hot or warm, and dry, while winters are mild, and rainfall is low to moderate depending on the area. Although heavy rain can occur, it is unusual. This climatic pattern was alluded to in the hit song "It Never Rains (In Southern California)". While snow is very rare in lower elevations, mountains above receive plentiful snowfall in the winter.

Natural landscape

Southern California consists of one of the more varied collections of geologic, topographic, and natural ecosystem landscapes in a diversity outnumbering other major regions in the state and country. The region spans from Pacific Ocean Channel Islands of California, islands, shorelines, beaches, and coastal plains, through the Transverse Ranges, Transverse and Peninsular Ranges with their peaks, and into the large and small interior valleys, to the vast deserts of California. :Introductory categories include: *:Beaches of Southern California, Beaches of southern California *:Mountain ranges of Southern California, Mountain ranges of Southern California *:Rivers of Southern California, Rivers of Southern California *:Deserts of California, Deserts of California *:Parks in Southern California, Parks in Southern California


Southern California is divided into: *The South Coast (California), Coastal Region, which is densely populated and includes the coastal interior valleys west of the coastal mountains with all of Orange County and portions of San Diego, Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo counties. *A related Phytochorion, florist province term is the California Floristic Province#Cismontane region, Cismontane Region on the coastal side of the Transverse Ranges, Transverse and Peninsular Ranges, Peninsular mountain ranges, with the term "southern California" popularly referring to this more populated and visited zone. *The Desert Region, which is larger and sparsely populated with portions of Kern, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, Imperial, and San Diego counties. The division between the Coastal Region and the Inland Empire/Imperial Valley winds along the backs of coastal mountain ranges such as the Santa Ana Mountains. *A related floristic province term is the California Floristic Province#Transmontane region, Transmontane Region on the rain shadow side of the same mountain ranges, with the term ''southern California'' including this zone geographically and when distinguishing all the 'southland' from northern California.

Geographic features

* Angeles National Forest (Los Angeles, San Bernardino, & Ventura Counties) * Antelope Hills, California, Antelope Hills (Kern County) * Antelope Valley (Los Angeles & Kern Counties) * Arroyo Seco (Los Angeles County), Arroyo Seco (Los Angeles County) * Bacon Hills (Kern County) * Baldwin Hills (mountain range), Baldwin Hills (Los Angeles County) * Ballona Wetlands (Los Angeles County) * Big Bear Lake (San Bernardino County) * Bissell Hills (Kern County) * Black Hills (Kern County) * Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, Bolsa Chica Estuary (Orange County) * Buena Vista Hills (Kern County), Buena Vista Hills (Kern County) * Buena Vista Lake (Kern County) * Cajon Pass (San Bernardino County) * Calico Mountains (California), Calico Mountains (San Bernardino County) * Channel Islands of California, Channel Islands (Santa Barbara, Ventura & Los Angeles Counties) * Castaic Lake (Los Angeles County) * Chino Hills (Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside & San Bernardino Counties) * Coachella Valley (Riverside County) *
Colorado Desert California's Colorado Desert is a part of the larger Sonoran Desert. It encompasses approximately , including the heavily irrigation, irrigated Coachella Valley, Coachella and Imperial Valley, Imperial valleys. It is home to many unique flora and f ...
(San Bernardino, Riverside, Imperial, & San Diego Counties) *
Colorado River
Colorado River
(San Bernardino, Riverside & Imperial Counties, Baja California & Sonora) * Conejo Valley (Ventura County) * Cucamonga Valley (San Bernardino & Riverside Counties) * Cuyamaca Mountains (San Diego County) * Death Valley (San Bernardino & Inyo Counties) * Diablo Range (Kern County) * Elk Hills (Kern County) * Elkhorn Hills (San Luis Obispo County) * El Mirage Lake (San Bernardino County) * El Paso Mountains (Kern County) * Greenhorn Mountains (Kern County) * High Desert (California), High Desert (Los Angeles, Kern, Inyo, & San Bernardino Counties) * Horned Toad Hills (Kern County) * Imperial Valley (California), Imperial Valley (Imperial County) * Irish Hills (California), Irish Hills (San Luis Obispo County) * In-Ko-Pah Mountains (San Diego County) * Inland Empire (CA), Inland Empire (Riverside & San Bernardino Counties) * Jacumba Mountains (San Diego County) * Jawbone Canyon (Kern County) * Kern River (Kern County) * La Jolla Cove (San Diego County) * Laguna Mountains (San Diego County) * Lake Arrowhead, California, Lake Arrowhead (San Bernardino County) * Lake Casitas (Ventura County) * Lake Elsinore (Riverside County) * Lake Isabella (Kern County) * Lake Perris (Riverside County) * Lake Piru (Ventura County) * Lakeview Mountains (Riverside County) * Lake Webb (Kern County) * Little San Bernardino Mountains (Riverside & San Bernardino Counties) * Little Signal Hills (Kern County) * Los Angeles Basin (Los Angeles & Orange Counties) * Los Angeles River (Los Angeles County) * Los Padres National Forest (Kern, Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, & Ventura Counties) * Lost Hills (Kern County) * Low Desert (Imperial, San Diego, Riverside & San Bernardino Counties) * Mojave Desert (Los Angeles, Kern & San Bernardino Counties) * Mojave River (San Bernardino County) * Mount San Antonio (Los Angeles County) * New River (California), New River (Imperial County, Mexicali Municipality) * Nine Sisters (San Luis Obispo County) * Ojai, California, Ojai Valley (Ventura County) * Orange Coast (Orange County) * Oxnard Plain (Ventura County) * Palomar Mountain (San Diego County) * Palo Verde Valley (Riverside & Imperial Counties) * Palos Verdes Hills, Palos Verdes Peninsula (Los Angeles County) * Panamint Range (Inyo County) * Peninsular Ranges (San Diego, Riverside, & Orange Counties) * Pleito Hills (Kern County) * Point Loma, San Diego, California, Point Loma (San Diego County) * Point Mugu (Ventura County) * Point of Rocks (Kern County, California), Point of Rocks (Kern County) * Pomona Valley (Los Angeles & San Bernardino Counties) * Providence Mountains (San Bernardino County) * Puente Hills (Los Angeles County) * Pyramid Lake (Los Angeles County, California), Pyramid Lake (Los Angeles County) * Rand Mountains (Kern County) * Rio Hondo (California), Rio Hondo (Los Angeles County) * Rosamond Hills (Kern County) * Saddleback Valley (Orange County) * Salton Sea (Imperial & Riverside Counties) * San Andreas Fault (All Counties) * San Bernardino Mountains (San Bernardino County) * San Bernardino National Forest (Riverside & San Bernardino Counties) * San Bernardino Valley (San Bernardino County) * San Diego Bay (San Diego County) * San Diego River (San Diego County) * San Emigdio Mountains (Los Angeles, Ventura, & Kern Counties) * San Fernando Valley (Los Angeles County) * San Gabriel Mountains (Los Angeles & San Bernardino Counties) * San Gabriel River (California), San Gabriel River (Los Angeles County) * San Gabriel Valley (Los Angeles County) * San Jacinto Mountains (Riverside County) * San Jacinto River (California), San Jacinto River (Riverside County) * San Joaquin Valley (Kern County) * San Luis Rey River (San Diego County) * San Pedro Bay (California), San Pedro Bay (Los Angeles County) * San Rafael Mountains (Santa Barbara County) * Santa Ana Mountains (Orange & Riverside Counties) * Santa Ana River (San Bernardino, Riverside & Orange Counties) * Santa Ana Valley (Orange County) * Santa Catalina Island, California, Santa Catalina Island (Los Angeles County) * Santa Clara River (California), Santa Clara River (Ventura County) * Santa Clara River Valley (Ventura County) * Santa Clarita Valley (Los Angeles County) * Santa Margarita River (Riverside, Orange & San Diego Counties) * Santa Monica Bay (Los Angeles County) * Santa Monica Mountains (Los Angeles & Ventura Counties) * Santa Rosa Mountains (California), Santa Rosa Mountains (Riverside, Imperial & San Diego Counties) * Santa Susana Mountains (Los Angeles & Ventura Counties) * Santa Ynez Mountains (Santa Barbara & Ventura Counties) * Santa Ynez Valley (Santa Barbara County) * Scodie Mountains (Kern County) * Sequoia National Forest (Kern County) * Shale Hills (Kern County) * Sierra Nevada (U.S.), Sierra Nevada (Kern County) * Sierra Pelona Mountains (Los Angeles & Kern Counties) * Simi Hills (Los Angeles & Ventura Counties) * Simi Valley (Ventura County) * Sweetwater River (California), Sweetwater River (San Diego County) * Tehachapi Mountains (Kern & Los Angeles Counties) * Tejon Hills (Kern County) * Temescal Mountains (Riverside County) * Telephone Hills (Kern County) * Temblor Range (Kern & San Luis Obispo Counties) * Tijuana River (San Diego County) * Topatopa Mountains (Ventura County) * Turtle Mountains (California), Turtle Mountains (San Bernardino County) * Ventura River (Ventura County) * Verdugo Mountains (Los Angeles County) * Victor Valley (San Bernardino County)


List of major fault zones

Note: Plate boundary faults are indicated with a (#) symbol. * Brawley Seismic Zone * Chino Fault * Elsinore Fault Zone * Elysian Park Fault * Garlock Fault * Hosgri Fault * Imperial Fault Zone * Laguna Salada Fault * Newport–Inglewood Fault * Peninsular Ranges * Puente Hills Fault * Raymond Fault * Rose Canyon Fault * Salton Trough * Salinian Block * San Andreas Fault # * San Cayetano Fault * San Felipe Fault Zone * San Gabriel Fault * San Jacinto Fault Zone * Santa Maria River Fault * Santa Ynez Fault * Shoreline Fault * Ventura Fault * White Wolf Fault * Whittier Fault * Yorba Linda Fault


Each year, southern California has about 10,000 earthquakes. Nearly all of them are so small that they are not felt. Only several hundred have been greater than Moment magnitude scale, magnitude 3.0, and only about 15–20 have been greater than magnitude 4.0. The magnitude 6.7 1994 Northridge earthquake was particularly destructive, causing a substantial number of deaths, injuries, and structural collapses as well as the most property damage of any earthquake in U.S. history at an estimated $20 billion. Many Fault (geology), faults are able to produce a magnitude greater than 6.7 earthquake, such as the San Andreas Fault, which can produce a magnitude 8.0 event. Other faults include the San Jacinto Fault, the Puente Hills Fault, and the Elsinore Fault Zone. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) has released a California earthquake forecast, which models earthquake occurrence in California.

= List of earthquakes

= This is a partial list of earthquakes in Southern California. For a full list, see List of earthquakes in California. Note: Earthquakes with epicenters in the Los Angeles Metro Area are marked with the (#) symbol. Other earthquakes mentioned means shaking was felt. * 1812 San Juan Capistrano earthquake * 1857 Fort Tejon earthquake * 1892 Laguna Salada earthquake * 1899 San Jacinto earthquake * 1918 San Jacinto earthquake * 1933 Long Beach earthquake # * 1940 El Centro earthquake * 1948 Desert Hot Springs earthquake * 1971 San Fernando earthquake # * 1979 Imperial Valley earthquake * 1968 Borrego Mountain earthquake * 1986 North Palm Springs earthquake * 1987 Superstition Hills and Elmore Ranch earthquakes * 1987 Whittier Narrows earthquake # * 1991 Sierra Madre earthquake # * 1992 Big Bear earthquake # * 1992 Landers earthquake * 1994 Northridge earthquake # * 2008 Chino Hills earthquake # * 2010 Baja California earthquake * 2019 Ridgecrest earthquake



Southern California is divided culturally, politically, and economically into distinct regions, each containing its own culture and atmosphere, anchored usually by a city with both national and sometimes global recognition, which is often the hub of economic activity for its respective region and being home to many tourist destinations. Each region is further divided into many culturally distinct areas but as a whole, combine to create the southern California atmosphere. *Southern Coast (California), Coastal southern California *Central Coast (California), Southern Central Coast *Ventura County, California, Ventura County *Oxnard Plain *Los Angeles Basin *Orange County, California, Orange County *San Diego County *Inland southern California *Kern County *Imperial Valley *Inland Empire (California), Inland Empire *San Bernardino County *High Desert (California), High Desert (Section)* *Morongo Basin* *San Bernardino Valley *Riverside County, California, Riverside County *San Jacinto Valley *Coachella Valley* *Low Desert (Section)* *Deserts of California *High Desert (California), High Desert* *Antelope Valley *Morongo Basin* *Kern County, California, eastern Kern County *Low Desert* *Coachella Valley* *Lower Colorado River Valley *Imperial County, California, Imperial County *Imperial Valley *Palo Verde Valley ''*Part of multiple regions''


As of the 2010 United States Census, southern California has a population of 22,680,010. Despite a reputation for high growth rates, southern California's rate grew less than the state average of 10.0 percent in the 2000s. This was due to California's growth becoming concentrated in the northern part of the state as result of a stronger, tech-oriented economy in the San Francisco Bay Area, Bay Area and an emerging Greater Sacramento region. Southern California consists of one Combined Statistical Area, eight Metropolitan Statistical Areas, one international metropolitan area, and multiple metropolitan divisions. The region is home to two extended metropolitan areas that exceed five million in population. These are the Greater Los Angeles Area at 17,786,419, and San Diego–Tijuana at 5,105,768. Of these metropolitan areas, the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana metropolitan area, Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario metropolitan area, and Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura metropolitan area form Greater Los Angeles; while the El Centro metropolitan area and San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos metropolitan area form the Southern Border Region (California), Southern Border Region. North of Greater Los Angeles are the Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Kern County, California, Bakersfield metropolitan areas.


Los Angeles (with a 2017 census-estimated population of 4.0 million people) and San Diego (at 1.4 million people) are the two largest cities in all of California and are in the top eight largest cities in the United States. In southern California, there are also 12 cities with more than 200,000 residents and 34 cities over 100,000 residents. Many of southern California's most developed cities lie along or in close proximity to the coast, with the exception of San Bernardino and Riverside.


* Imperial * Kern *
Los Angeles Los Angeles (; es, Los Ángeles; "The Angels"), officially the City of Los Angeles and often abbreviated as L.A., is the List of cities and towns in California, largest city in California. With an estimated population of nearly four millio ...
* Orange * Riverside * San Bernardino *
San Diego San Diego (, ; ) is a city in the U.S. state of California on the coast of the Pacific Ocean and immediately adjacent to the Mexico–United States border, United States–Mexico border. With an estimated population of 1,423,851 as of July 1, ...
* San Luis Obispo * Santa Barbara * Ventura



Southern California has a diverse economy and is one of the largest economies in the United States. It is dominated by and heavily dependent upon the abundance of petroleum, as opposed to other regions where automobiles are not nearly as dominant, due to the vast majority of transport that runs on this fuel. Southern California is famous for tourism and the entertainment industry. Other industries include software, automotive, ports, finance, biomedical, and regional logistics. The region was a leader in the housing bubble from 2001 to 2007 and has been heavily impacted by the housing crash. Since the 1920s, motion pictures, petroleum, and aircraft manufacturing have been major industries. In one of the richest agricultural regions in the U.S., cattle and citrus were major industries until farmlands were turned into suburbs. Although military spending cutbacks have had an impact, aerospace continues to be a major factor.

Major central business districts

Southern California is home to many major business districts. Central business districts (CBD) include Downtown Los Angeles, Downtown San Diego, Downtown San Bernardino and South Coast Metro. Within the Los Angeles Area are the major business districts of Pasadena, California, Downtown Pasadena, Burbank, California, Downtown Burbank, Santa Monica, California, Downtown Santa Monica, Glendale, California, Downtown Glendale and Downtown Long Beach. Los Angeles itself has many business districts, such as Downtown Los Angeles and those lining Wilshire Boulevard including Mid-Wilshire, the Miracle Mile, Los Angeles, Miracle Mile, Downtown Beverly Hills and Westwood, Los Angeles, Westwood; others include Century City, Los Angeles, Century City and Warner Center, Los Angeles, Warner Center in the San Fernando Valley. The area of Santa Monica and Venice (and perhaps some of Culver City) is informally referred to as "Silicon Beach" because of the concentration of financial and marketing technology-centric firms located in the region. The San Bernardino-Riverside area maintains the business districts of Downtown San Bernardino, Hospitality Lane District, San Bernardino, California, Hospitality Business/Financial Centre, University District, San Bernardino, University Town which are in San Bernardino and Downtown Riverside. In Orange County, has highly developed suburban business centers (also known as edge cities) including the Anaheim–Santa Ana edge city along I-5; and another, the South Coast Plaza–John Wayne Airport edge city that stretches from the South Coast Metro to the Irvine Business Complex; Newport Center, Newport Beach, California, Newport Center; and Irvine Spectrum. Downtown Santa Ana is an important government, arts and entertainment, and retail district. Downtown San Diego is the CBD of San Diego, though the city is filled with business districts. These include Carmel Valley, San Diego, Carmel Valley, Del Mar Heights, San Diego, Del Mar Heights, Mission Valley, San Diego, Mission Valley, Rancho Bernardo, San Diego, Rancho Bernardo, Sorrento Mesa, San Diego, Sorrento Mesa, and University City, San Diego, University City. Most of these districts are located in Northern San Diego and some within North County, San Diego, North County regions.

Theme parks and waterparks

Los Angeles * Dry Town Water Park * Pacific Park * Raging Waters San Dimas * Six Flags Hurricane Harbor * Six Flags Magic Mountain * Universal Studios Hollywood Orange County * Disney California Adventure * Disneyland, Disneyland Park * Knott's Berry Farm * Knott's Soak City Riverside & San Bernardino * Castle Park (amusement park), Castle Park * Splash Kingdom Waterpark San Diego * Aquatica San Diego#Aquatica San Diego, Aquatica San Diego * Belmont Park (San Diego), Belmont Park * Legoland California * Legoland Waterpark * San Diego Wild Animal Park * San Diego Zoo * SeaWorld San Diego

Vinyard-Winery American Viticultural Area (AVA) districts

:California wine AVA-American Viticultural Areas in southern California: *South Coast AVA **Cucamonga Valley AVA **Malibu-Newton Canyon AVA **Ramona Valley AVA **Saddle Rock-Malibu AVA **Temecula Valley AVA *Leona Valley AVA *Central Coast AVA **Arroyo Grande Valley AVA **Edna Valley AVA **San Pasqual Valley AVA **Santa Maria Valley AVA **Santa Ynez Valley AVA **Sta. Rita Hills AVA **York Mountain AVA


:''See: :Transportation in Southern California, Transportation in Southern California Southern California is home to Los Angeles International Airport, the second-busiest airport in the United States by passenger volume (see World's busiest airports by passenger traffic) and the third-busiest by international passenger volume (see Busiest airports in the United States by international passenger traffic); San Diego International Airport, the busiest single-runway airport in the world; Van Nuys Airport, the world's busiest general aviation airport; major commercial airports at John Wayne Airport, Orange County, Meadows Field, Bakersfield, LA/Ontario International Airport, Ontario, Hollywood Burbank Airport, Burbank and Long Beach Airport, Long Beach; and numerous smaller commercial and general aviation airports. Six of the seven lines of the commuter rail system, Metrolink (Southern California), Metrolink, run out of Downtown Los Angeles, connecting Los Angeles, Ventura, San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange, and San Diego counties with the other line connecting San Bernardino, Riverside, and Orange counties directly. Southern California is also home to the Port of Los Angeles, the country's busiest commercial port; the adjacent Port of Long Beach, the country's second busiest container port; and the Port of San Diego.


The following table shows all airports listed by the Federal Aviation Association (FAA) as a hub airport:

Freeways and highways

Sections of the southern California freeway system are often referred to by names rather than by the official numbers.

Public transportation

:''See: :Public transportation in Southern California, Public transportation in Southern California'' *Antelope Valley Transit Authority *Big Blue Bus (Santa Monica) *Gold Coast Transit (Ventura County) *Golden Empire Transit (Bakersfield) *Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority *Metrolink (Southern California), Metrolink *North County Transit District (northern San Diego County) *Omnitrans (southwestern San Bernardino County) *Orange County Transportation Authority *Riverside Transit Agency (western Riverside County) *San Diego Coaster (Oceanside to San Diego) *San Diego Metropolitan Transit System *San Luis Obispo Regional Transit Authority *Santa Barbara, California, Santa Barbara MTD


Telephone area codes

*Area code 213, 213 – Central Los Angeles *Area code 323, 323 – Overlay with 213 *Area code 310, 310 – Westside (Los Angeles County), West Los Angeles, Inglewood, California, Inglewood, Santa Monica, California, Santa Monica, South Bay, Los Angeles, South Bay and Santa Catalina Island, California, Catalina Island *Area code 424, 424 – Overlay with 310 *Area code 442, 442 – Overlay with 760 *Area code 562, 562 – Long Beach, California, Long Beach, Gateway Cities, and parts of northern Orange County, California, Orange County *Area code 619, 619 – most of San Diego County, California, San Diego County including San Diego *Area code 626, 626 – most of San Gabriel Valley including Pasadena, California, Pasadena *Area code 657, 657 – Overlay with 714 *Area code 661, 661 – Bakersfield, California, Bakersfield, Santa Clarita, California, Santa Clarita, and Antelope Valley *Area code 714, 714 – Santa Ana, California, Santa Ana, Anaheim, California, Anaheim, Huntington Beach, California, Huntington Beach and northern Orange County, California, Orange County *Area code 760, 760 – Oceanside, California, Oceanside, Escondido, California, Escondido, Palm Springs, California, Palm Springs, Imperial County, California, Imperial County, Victorville, California, Victorville, Barstow, California, Barstow, Ridgecrest, California, Ridgecrest, Hesperia, California, Hesperia, Apple Valley, California, Apple Valley, Blythe, California, Blythe, Adelanto, California, Adelanto and Indio, California, Indio *Area code 805, 805 – Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo Counties *Area code 818, 818 – San Fernando Valley including Glendale, California, Glendale and Burbank, California, Burbank *Area code 820, 820 – Overlay with 805 *Area code 858, 858 – Overlay with 619 *Area code 909, 909 – Southwestern San Bernardino County, California, San Bernardino County, eastern Los Angeles County, California, Los Angeles County, and portions of northwestern Riverside County, California, Riverside County *Area code 949, 949 – Southern Orange County, California, Orange County (Irvine, California, Irvine, Newport Beach, California, Newport Beach, Laguna Niguel, California, Laguna Niguel & San Clemente, California, San Clemente) *Area code 951, 951 – Western Riverside County, California, Riverside County including Riverside, California, Riverside and Temecula, California, Temecula

Colleges and universities

The Tech Coast is a moniker that has gained use as a descriptor for the region's diversified technology and industrial base as well as its multitude of prestigious and world-renowned research universities and other public and private institutions. Amongst these include five University of California campuses (University of California, Irvine, Irvine, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, University of California, Riverside, Riverside, University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, and University of California, San Diego, San Diego), 12 California State University campuses (California State University, Bakersfield, Bakersfield, California State University, Channel Islands, Channel Islands, California State University, Dominguez Hills, Dominguez Hills, California State University, Fullerton, Fullerton, California State University, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California State University, Long Beach, Long Beach, California State University, Northridge, Northridge, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, Pomona, California State University, San Bernardino, San Bernardino, San Diego State University, San Diego, California State University, San Marcos, San Marcos, and California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo); and private institutions such as the California Institute of Technology, Azusa Pacific University, Chapman University, the Claremont Colleges (Claremont McKenna College, Harvey Mudd College, Pitzer College, Pomona College, Scripps College, Claremont Graduate University and Keck Graduate Institute), Loma Linda University, Loyola Marymount University, Occidental College, Pepperdine University, University of Redlands, University of San Diego, and the University of Southern California.

Parks and recreation areas

Numerous parks provide recreation opportunities and open space. Locations include: *National Park Service **Cabrillo National Monument **Carrizo Plain National Monument **Castle Mountains National Monument **Cesar E. Chavez National Monument **Channel Islands National Park **Death Valley National Park **Joshua Tree National Park **Mojave National Preserve **Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area *Major State park, State Parks – ''including:'' **Anza-Borrego Desert State Park **Crystal Cove State Park **Cuyamaca Rancho State Park **Chino Hills State Park **Fort Tejon State Historic Park **Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area **Mount San Jacinto State Park **Malibu Creek State Park **Red Rock Canyon State Park (California) **Topanga State Park *Major State Historic Parks – ''including:'' **California Citrus State Historic Park **Presidio of Santa Barbara, El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park **La Purísima Mission State Historic Park **Los Encinos State Historic Park **Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa **Old Town San Diego State Historic Park **Rancho Los Encinos **Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park **Tule Elk State Natural Reserve **Watts Towers **Will Rogers State Historic Park


Major professional sports teams in southern California include: *National Football League, NFL (American football) Los Angeles Rams, Los Angeles Chargers *National Basketball Association, NBA (Basketball) Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers *Major League Baseball, MLB (Baseball) Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels, San Diego Padres *NHL (Ice hockey) Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks *Major League Soccer, MLS (Soccer) LA Galaxy, Los Angeles FC Southern California also is home to a number of popular NCAA sports programs such as the UCLA Bruins, the USC Trojans, and the San Diego State Aztecs. The Bruins and the Trojans both field football teams in NCAA Division I in the Pac-12 Conference, and there is a longtime UCLA–USC rivalry, rivalry between the schools.

See also

*:History of Southern California, History of Southern California *:California ranchos, California ranchos – ''Southern California Counties categories'' *:Public transportation in Southern California, Public transportation in Southern California *California earthquake forecast *California megapolitan areas *Geography of southern California *Largest cities in southern California *Megaregions of the United States *San Angeles *South Coast (California), South Coast *Southern California Association of Governments


Further reading

* Castillo-Munoz, Veronica. ''The Other California: Land, Identity, and Politics on the Mexican Borderlands'' (University of California Press, 2016), 171 pp. $70.00.) * Deverell, William, and David Igler, eds. ''A companion to California history'' (John Wiley & Sons, 2013). * Fogelson, Robert M. ''The Fragmented Metropolis: Los Angeles, 1850–1930'' (1967), focus on planning, infrastructure, water, and business * Friedricks, William. ''Henry E. Huntington and the Creation of Southern California'' (1992), on Henry Edwards Huntington (1850–1927), railroad executive and collector, who helped build LA and southern California through the Southern Pacific railroad and also trolleys. * Garcia, Matt. ''A World of Its Own: Race, Labor, and Citrus in the Making of Greater Los Angeles, 1900–1970.'' (2001). 330 pp. * Garcia, Mario T. "A Chicano Perspective on San Diego History," ''Journal of San Diego History'' (1972) 18#4 pp 14–2
* Lotchin, Roger. ''Fortress California, 1910–1961'' (2002
excerpt and text search
covers military and industrial roles * Mills, James R. ''San Diego: Where California Began'' (San Diego: San Diego Historical Society, 1960)

* O'Flaherty, Joseph S. ''An End and a Beginning: The South Coast and Los Angeles, 1850–1887.'' (1972). 222 pp. * O'Flaherty, Joseph S. ''Those Powerful Years: The South Coast and Los Angeles, 1887–1917'' (1978). 356 pp. * Pryde, Philip R. ''San Diego: An Introduction to the Region'' (4th ed. 2004), a historical geography * Shragge, Abraham. "'A new federal city': San Diego during World War II," ''Pacific Historical Review'' (1994) 63#3 pp 333–6
*Starr, Kevin. ''The Dream Endures: California Enters the 1940s'' (1997) pp 90–114, covers 1880s–1940 *Starr, Kevin. ''Golden Dreams: California in an Age of Abundance, 1950–1963'' (2011) pp 57–87 *Starr, Kevin. ''Coast of Dreams: California on the Edge, 1990–2003'' (2004) 372-81

External links

California Historical Society Collection, 1860–1960
– University of Southern California Libraries, USC Libraries Digital Collections
Historical Society of Southern California
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