Cities » Los Angeles
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Facts and Figures
Los Angeles has a population of nearly 4 million people in the city limits; almost 10 million in Los Angeles county, and 18 million in “Greater L.A.” (Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties).
In a city of 4 million Los Angeles is:
- 48% Latino
- 28% White
- 14% Asian
- 9% African American
- 0.7% Native American
As of the 2010 census, more than 35% of the population of Los Angeles was foreign born. This does not include the thousands of the immigrants that stream through, using Los Angeles as a point of entry before moving to another city. The native lands of Los Angeles residents represent more than 140 different countries throughout the world.
For the 4 million residents of Los Angeles there are less than 10,000 police officers. Los Angeles also has over 63,000 gang members and gang members outnumber police 7 to 1. The LAPD handles over 3.3 million phone calls each year. 1.9 million of those calls are 9-1-1 emergency calls.
Did You Know That…
Greater Los Angeles is:
- The largest Mexican metropolitan area outside of Mexico
- The largest Japanese metropolitan area outside of Japan
- The largest Taiwanese metropolitan area outside of Taiwan
- The largest Korean metropolitan area outside of Korea
- The largest Filipino metropolitan area outside of the Philippines
- The largest Armenian metropolitan area outside of Armenia
- The largest Thai metropolitan area out side of Thailand
- The largest Vietnamese metropolitan area outside of Vietnam
Los Angeles is known both as America’s First Third World City and the world’s future financial capital.
Children in the L.A. unified school district speak over 90 different languages. Belmont High School in Los Angeles is California’s largest high school with 4,200 students. Its teenage students from around the world speak more than 30 different languages.
People, Problems, Issues
There are at least 91,000 homeless people each night in Los Angeles County. About 15-20,000 homeless people live on “Skid Row”. This is a ten square block area at the center of downtown Los Angeles. At any given time at least half the homeless population literally sleeps on the streets. The average age of homeless person is around 40 years old. One third to one half of the homeless population is women and girls.
Causes of homelessness shown in research tend to include the following:
- Lack of affordable housing
- Low-paying jobs and labor market changes
- Mental illness
- Substance abuse
- Changes and cuts in public assistance
- Domestic violence
- Changes in family structure
- Prison release
- Chronic health problems
- Lack of access to affordable health care
Insights on the City
by Tim and Malia Peters (former co-directors)
Los Angeles is a huge mission field with an abundance of needs, hurt, pain, brokenness, tension, stress, hopelessness, depression, violence, anger, oppression, bondage, and hate. At the same time, Los Angeles has God in its midst, healing the hurt and pain, bringing wholeness and peace, giving rest to the weary, giving home and joy, encouraging, loving liberating, and changing peoples’ lives for eternity.
While Los Angeles’ problems are not unique to major urban centers, L.A. has an intensity that few cities share. Its diversity, combined with a history of racial volatility, has caused two major civil disturbances in the last three decades—the 1965 Watts riots and the havoc wreaked in the aftermath of the acquittal verdicts handed down in the Rodney King beating trial. There is a crying need for people of different cultures and colors to band together to combat the myriad of problems they face as residents of inner-city L.A.
Los Angeles also illustrates the huge gap between rich and poor present in so many of our nation’s cities. The central city financial district (which employs over 100,000 commuting suburbanites and includes the Biltmore Hotel, one of L.A.’s most expensive) sits just two blocks away from Skid Row, where tens of thousands of people live in flophouse hotels or literally out on the street.
This gap needs to be narrowed; the wealthy need to share resources to meet the needs of the poor huddled just outside their back doors. This is not an easy task, and will take a lot of time and effort. The local government has proven itself incapable of even beginning to address the needs of the poor and disadvantaged in L.A. current government-led programs are failing miserably.
Frankly, it shouldn’t be the government’s responsibility to meet these needs in the first place. The Bible clearly commands us as followers of Christ to meet the needs of the "least among us". Some Christians are rising to this challenge, but many more are needed. If every Christian would just do his or her part, we wouldn’t have a problem with poverty, and we wouldn’t have to look to the government to do what we can and should be doing.
CSM Ministry Site Sampler
Faith in Christ is a church located in South Central Los Angeles. They welcome the poor and oppressed in their neighborhood and provide a range of ministries, including food distribution, weekly "Sidewalk Breakfasts", and a variety of tutoring and Bible club ministries for neighborhood children. CSM groups assist with the physical plant, help with the tutoring and Bible club programs, and prepare and serve “Sidewalk Breakfasts.”
The Midnight Mission has been serving the Skid Row community since 1914 with emergency shelter, food and clothing, as well as a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program. The Midnight’s mission is to be a bridge that carries men, women and children back into the community through counseling, training and job placement. Working alongside the men of the Midnight, CSM groups hear stories and learn first hand the damage of addiction to drugs, while at the same time seeing examples of incredible strength in the men who are working to overcome these addictions. CSM groups have seen and heard these stories of faith and victory since they began serving meals and working in the kitchen nearly every week since 1999.
Central City Community Church is located in Skid Row. Its vision is to be a church where homeless and poor neighborhood residents can be welcome, feel comfortable, and worship alongside other believers. CCCC also hosts S.A.Y. YES! Center for Youth Development, an after-school program for children who live in nearby Skid Row hotels. CSM groups help to lead S.A.Y. YES! Bible times, tutor neighborhood children, participate in the Karaoke Coffee Club and assist CCCC with its ongoing maintenance needs.
Las Familias del Pueblo is a day care facility for poor working parents in downtown L.A. Its small but dedicated staff (usually 2-4 people on any given day) work to cope with over 50 lively children. CSM groups are much welcomed as they lavish much-needed time and attention on these little boys and girls.
Alegria is a Salvation Army transitional housing facility and program for families who have become homeless as a result of HIV/AIDS. The families at Alegria tend to isolate themselves in order to cope with the seriousness of AIDS. However, the staff here knows that it is socially, emotionally and even physically healthy for the families to interact with people outside the program.