Southern California (SoCal) is a megaregion, or megapolitan area, in the southern area of the U.S. state of California. Large urban areas include Greater Los Angeles and Greater San Diego. The urban area stretches along the coast from Ventura through the Southland and Inland Empire to San Diego. The United States - Mexico border makes up the southern border. Southern California is a major economic center for the state of California and the nation.
Southern California's population encompasses five metropolitan, or MSA, areas: Los Angeles County and Orange County together make up the Los Angeles metropolitan area; the Inland Empire consists of such cities asRiverside, Ontario, and San Bernardino; the San Diego metropolitan area; the Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura metro area; and the El Centro area. Out of these, three are heavy populated areas; the Los Angeles area with over 12 million inhabitants, the Riverside-San Bernardino area with over 4 million inhabitants, and the San Diego area with over 3 million inhabitants. For CSA metropolitan purposes, the five counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura are all combined to make up the Los Angeles metropolitan area; with San Diego as Southern California's other CSA metropolitan area. With over 22 million people, roughly 60% of California's population resides in Southern California.
To the east of Southern California are the Colorado Desert and the Colorado River at the border with the state of Arizona, and the Mojave Desert at the border with the state of Nevada. To the south lies the international border with Mexico, and to the west lies the Pacific Ocean. With combined surface area of 56,512 sq mi, Southern California alone is bigger than England.
, a district in Los Angeles
Within Southern California are two major cities, Los Angeles and San Diego, as well as three of the country's largest metropolitan areas. With a population of 3,792,621, Los Angeles is the most populous city in California and the second most populous in the United States. Just to the south and with a population of 1,307,402 is San Diego, the second most populous city in the state and the eighth most populous in the nation.
Its counties of Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, San Bernardino, and Riverside are in the top 15 most populous counties in the United States and all five are the top 5 most populous counties in California. The region is also 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 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 Orange County, Ontario, Burbank and Long Beach; and numerous smaller commercial and general aviation airports. Southern California is also home to the Port of Los Angeles, the United States' busiest commercial port, the adjacent Port of Long Beach, the United States' second busiest container port, and the Port of San Diego. Also of note in the region is the freeway system, which is the world's busiest. Six of the seven lines of the commuter rail system, 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.University of California, Santa Barbara
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 5 University of California campuses (Irvine, Los Angeles, Riverside, Santa Barbara, and San Diego); 11 California State University campuses (Channel Islands, Dominguez Hills, Fullerton, Los Angeles,Long Beach, Northridge, Pomona, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Marcos, and San Luis Obispo); as well as private institutions such as the California Institute of Technology, Chapman University, Claremont Consortium of Colleges, Loma Linda University, Loyola Marymount University, Pepperdine University, University of San Diego, and the University of Southern California.Universal Studios
Southern California is also the entertainment (motion picture, television, and recorded music) capital of the world and is home to Hollywood, a district in Los Angeles and a name associated with the motion picture industry. Headquartered in Southern California are The Walt Disney Company (which also owns ABC), Sony Pictures, Universal, MGM, Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox, and Warner Brothers.
Besides the entertainment industry, Southern California is also home to a large home grown surf and skateboard culture. Companies such as Volcom, Quiksilver, O'Neill clothing division, No Fear, Lost Enterprises, Sector 9, RVCA, Body Glove and Surfline are all headquartered in Southern California. Professional skateboarder Tony Hawk, professional surfers Rob Machado, Tim Curran, Bobby Martinez, Pat O'Connell, Dane Reynolds, and Chris Ward, and professional snowboarder Shaun White live in Southern California. Some of the world's legendary surf spots are in Southern California as well, including Trestles, Rincon, The Wedge, Huntington Beach, and Malibu, and it is second only to the island ofOahu in terms of famous surf breaks. Some of the world's biggest extreme sports events including the X Games, Boost Mobile Pro, and the U.S. Open of Surfing are all in Southern California. Southern California is also important to the world of yachting. The annual Transpacific Yacht Race, or "Transpac", from Los Angeles to Hawaii, is one of yachting's premier events. 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.
Southern California is home to many sports franchises and sports networks such as Fox Sports Net. Professional teams that are located in the region include the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, San Diego Padres, Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Galaxy, Chivas USA, and San Diego Chargers. Southern California also is home to a number of popular NCAA sports programs, such as theUCLA Bruins, the USC Trojans, and the San Diego State Aztecs.
Southern California is culturally diverse, and well known worldwide. Many tourists frequent South Coast for its popular beaches, and the eastern desert for its dramatic open spaces.
California counties below the sixthstandard parallel
The famousAndaz West Hollywood
Hotel on theSunset Strip
"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 11 miles below San Jose; however this does not coincide with 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 ten southern-most 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. Another definition for Southern California uses Point Conception and the Tehachapi Mountains as 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 in the upper part and Los Angeles and 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 line of the Missouri Compromise. Instead, the passing of the Compromise of 1850 enabled California to be admitted to the Union as a free state, preventing Southern California from becoming its own separate slave state.
Subsequently, Californios (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 separate from Northern California. The last attempt, the Pico Act of 1859, was passed by the California State Legislature, and signed by the State governor John B. Weller. It was approved overwhelmingly by nearly 75% of voters in the proposed 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 and most of Kern, and part of Inyo Counties) and 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 election ofAbraham Lincoln in 1860 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.
The state is most commonly divided and promoted by its regional tourism groups as consisting of northern, central, and southern California regions. The two AAA Auto Clubs of the state, the California State Automobile Association and theAutomobile 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.