Southern California is a region in the United States. SoCal, as it is known, encompasses the southernmost counties in the state of California. The region has an extensive population, which was last estimated to be around 23,800,500 in 2016.
There are two different definitions for the counties that make up Southern California. One defines SoCal as having eight counties. The counties include Los Angeles, Imperial, Riverside, Orange, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, San Diego and Ventura. This is based upon demographics and economic ties. Another definition of Southern California includes two additional counties: San Luis Obispo and Kern. This definition is based upon political divisions. Seven metropolitan areas are located in Southern California. These metro areas include the Los Angeles metro area, the San Diego metro area, the San Luis Obispo metro area, El Centro, the Inland Empire, the Santa Barbara metro area, and the Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura metro area.
Much of the region’s population resides within the Greater Los Angeles Area, which encompasses five counties including Los Angeles, Ventura and Orange. Over 17.5 million people live here, and it is the second largest combined statistical area in the country, falling only behind the New York metro area. Approximately 60% of the state’s total population lives in Southern California.
The largest cities in Southern California are Los Angeles with a population of 4 million people, according to 2017 estimates. San Diego has the second largest population in the region at 1.4 million. Twelve cities within the area have populations of at least 200,000. Thirty-four cities have populations topping 100,000.
As previously mentioned, the most recent estimates put the population of SoCal at over 23 million. This is quire an increase from the last recorded official population of 22,680,010 residents at the time of the 2010 US Census. Despite seeing what appears to be significant growth, the rate of growth for Southern California is below the state’s average.
Southern California’s economy is one of the most diverse in the nation. Petroleum, tourism, the entertainment industry and software are among the top industries in the region. Many residents work in one of the major business districts including Downtown Los Angeles and South Coast Metro. There are many educational opportunities for residents in Southern California, including multiple campuses throughout the region of the University of California and California State University. Residents remain entertained with theme parks in the area including Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood. Southern California is also home to multiple outdoor recreation parks, including historic partks like Los Encinos State Historic Park and Watts Towers.
It has been proposed to split the region into its own state. The proposal is on the 2018 California ballet and proposes splitting California into three different parts: California, Northern California and Southern California. Whether or not this will pass remains to be unseen as of July 2018.
The area’s growth has fallen below the state’s average because of extensive growth in the northern region, but it is still posting significantly higher population counts during each annual estimate. With so many employment and educational opportunities, as well as sights and entertainment, SoCal will continue to see its population grow well into the future.