Called the City of Angels by some, Los Angeles is one of the most populated metropolitan areas in the United States. Founded in 1781, the city experienced considerable growth after 1890 with the construction of the transnational railway enabling the region to export its citrus fruit to cities in the east. Population growth in Los Angeles preceded and created economic expansion, rather than following it as in other US cities.
Like other major cities of the world, Los Angeles has grown at a startling rate; what was a small town of 11,500 in 1897 has grown to a 1995 population of 12.4 million.
The beautiful dry summer climate was a major attraction for immigrants over the years and after the Second World War many soldiers chose to settle there. During the period of most rapid growth (1940-1950), the population density of the city increased 55.9%.
The city is one of the most important industrial and financial centers of the US. Some of the most important activities include aeronautical, petroleum and film industries. The city also has a diversified economy: over 60% of the largest companies in California have their head offices there. Manufactured materials range from petroleum, chemicals, food products and electronic and computer components.
Transportation had for may years been a major problem in Los Angeles: too many private cars and too little public transportation. In recent years however, there has been an increasing emphasis on relieving public traffic congestion through efforts such as the promotion of car-pools, express bus services and a network of cycle-ways. Time will tell if these efforts will work.
Air pollution is another serious problem in the area, with smog a constant hazard. When the smog level becomes excessive, the authorities issue a smog alert, during which factories are asked to stop burning fuel oil and people are requested to drive only if necessary. Heavy rainfall can also be problematic and earthquakes have often hit the city, as Los Angeles lies in a region of earthquake activity.
In spite of all these problems the city remains a major attraction for all throughout the US and continues to attract the very best of talents to its confines.