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Lakewood City Hall
Lakewood is a city in Los Angeles County, Californiamarker, United Statesmarker. The population was 79,345 at the 2000 census. It is bordered by Long Beachmarker on the west and south, Bellflowermarker on the north, Cerritosmarker on the northeast, Cypressmarker on the east, and Hawaiian Gardensmarker on the southeast. Major thoroughfares include Lakewood (SR 19), Bellflower, and Del Amo Boulevards and Carson and South Streets. The San Gabriel River Freeway (I-605) runs through the city's eastern regions.

Sometimes called "an instant city" because of its origins—going from lima bean fields in 1950 to a well-developed city by 1960—Lakewood is, along with Levittown, New Yorkmarker, the archetypal post-World War II American suburb. The vast majority of its housing stock is small, mass-produced single-story houses on tree-lined streets, sold initially to World War II and Korean War veterans who worked in the aerospace factories of Long Beach and the South Bay.

History, notable features

Lakewood is a planned, post-World War II community. Developers Louis Boyar, Mark Taper and Ben Weingart are credited with "altering forever the map of Southern California". The completion of the developers' plan helped in the transformation of mass middle class housing from its early phases in the 1930s and 1940s to the reality of the 1950s.

Lakewood's primary thoroughfares are mostly boulevards with landscaped medians, with frontage roads on either side in residential districts. Unlike in most similar configurations, however, access to the main road from the frontage road is only possible from infrequently spaced collector streets. This arrangement, hailed by urban planners of the day, is a compromise between the traditional urban grid and the arrangement of winding "drives" and culs-de-sac that dominates contemporary suburban and exurban design.

Lakewood is credited as a pioneer among California cities in services provision. Although it is an incorporated city, it contracts for most municipal services, with most of these provided by Los Angeles County and, to a lesser extent, by other public agencies and private industry. Lakewood was the first city in the nation to contract for all of its municipal services when Lakewood incorporated as a municipality in 1954, making it the nation's first "contract city." Many other Los Angeles suburbs, such as Cerritos and Diamond Barmarker have adopted the "Lakewood Plan."

Lakewood is the home of the first Denny's Restaurant. In 1953 Harold Butler founded Danny’s Donuts, which was renamed to Denny's Restaurant in 1959.

Lakewood was named Sports Illustrated's "Sportstown USA" in 2005 for the State of California.


Lakewood is located at (33.847365, -118.119889).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 24.6 km² (9.5 mi²). 24.4 km² (9.4 mi²) of it is land and 0.2 km² (0.1 mi²) of it (0.74%) is water.


The Los Angeles Basin is well-known for its year-round pleasant weather:

-On average, the warmest month is August.

-The highest recorded temperature was 111°F in 1955.

-On average, the coolest month is December.

-The lowest recorded temperature was 25°F in 1963.

-The maximum average precipitation occurs in February.

Lakewood has a Mediterranean climate or Dry-Summer Subtropical (Köppen climate classification Csb on the coast, Csa inland). Lakewood enjoys plenty of sunshine throughout the year, with an average of 263 sunshine days and only 35 days with measurable precipitation annually.

The period of April through November is warm to hot and dry with average high temperatures of 71 - 79°F and lows of 50 - 62°F. Due to the moderating effect of the ocean, temperatures are cooler than more inland areas of Los Angeles, where temperatures frequently exceed 90°F (32°C) and occasionally reach 100°F (38°C).

The period of November through March is somewhat rainy, as shown in the table to left.

The Los Angeles area is also subject to the phenomena typical of a microclimate. As such, the temperatures can vary as much as 18°F (10°C) between inland areas and the coast, with a temperature gradient of over one degree per mile (1.6 km) from the coast inland. California has also a weather phenomenon called "June Gloom or May Grey", which sometimes brings overcast or foggy skies in the morning at the coast, but usually gives way to sunny skies by noon, during late spring and early summer.

The Los Angeles region averages 15 inches (385 mm) of precipitation annually, which mainly occurs during the winter and spring (November through April) with generally light rain showers, but sometimes as heavy rainfall and thunderstorms. Coastal areas receive slightly less rainfall, while the mountains receive slightly more. Snowfall is extremely rare in the city basin, but the mountains within city limits typically receive snowfall every winter.

The greatest snowfall recorded in downtown Los Angeles was 2 inches (5 cm) in 1932.


As of the census of 2000, there were 79,345 people, 26,853 households, and 20,542 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,248.7/km² (8,414.8/mi²). There were 27,310 housing units at an average density of 1,118.2/km² (2,896.3/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 62.67% White, 7.34% Black or African American, 0.60% Native American, 13.51% Asian, 0.62% Pacific Islander, 10.10% from other races, and 5.17% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 22.78% of the population.

There were 26,853 households out of which 38.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.8% were married couples living together, 13.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.5% were non-families. 18.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.95 and the average family size was 3.37.

In the city the population was spread out with 27.5% under the age of 18, 8.1% from 18 to 24, 31.1% from 25 to 44, 21.4% from 45 to 64, and 11.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 93.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $58,214, and the median income for a family was $63,342. Males had a median income of $45,447 versus $35,206 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,095. About 5.6% of families and 7.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.3% of those under age 18 and 7.1% of those age 65 or over.

Demographic evolution of Lakewood

Year Population
1960 67,126
1970 83,025
1980 74,654
1990 73,557
2000 79,345


In the state legislature Lakewood is located in the 27th Senate District, represented by Democrat Alan Lowenthal, and in the 55th and 56th Assembly Districts, represented by Democrats Warren T. Furutani and Tony Mendoza respectively. Federally, Lakewood is located in California's 39th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of D +13 and is represented by Democrat Linda Sánchez.

Emergency services

Fire protection in Lakewood is provided by the Los Angeles County Fire Department with ambulance transport by Care Ambulance Service. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department provides law enforcement. The city of Lakewood operates a police helicopter operation independent of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Aero Bureau. The name of the program is simply called "Sky Knight". The program, begun in 1966, was the first day and night helicopter patrol program in the nation (aerial units had previously been used for search and rescue).


Primary and secondary schools

Public schools

The city is served by four school districts.

Several citizens created a group called "The Lakewood Unified School District Organizing Committee ," which aims to establish a "Lakewood Unified School District".

Long Beach Unified School District
Elementary schools serving Lakewood:
  • Cleveland Elementary School (Lakewood)
  • Holmes Elementary School (Lakewood)
  • MacArthur Elementary School (Lakewood)
  • Madison Elementary School (Lakewood)
  • Riley Elementary School (Lakewood)
  • Mark Twain Elementary School (Long Beach)

Middle schools serving Lakewood:
  • Bancroft Middle School (Long Beach)
  • DeMille Middle School (Long Beach)
  • Hoover Middle School (Lakewood)

K-8 schools serving Lakewood:
  • Gompers Elementary School (Lakewood)
  • Monroe School (Lakewood)

High schools serving Lakewood:

Paramount Unified School District
K-8 schools serving Lakewood:
  • Collins Elementary School (Long Beach)
  • Lakewood Elementary School (Lakewood)
  • Mokler Elementary School (Paramount)

High schools serving Lakewood:

Bellflower Unified School District
Elementary schools serving Lakewood include:
  • Stephen Foster Elementary School (Lakewood)
  • Intensive Learning Center (Lakewood)
  • Jefferson Elementary School (Bellflower)
  • Esther Lindstrom Elementary School (Lakewood)
  • Craig Williams Elementary School (Lakewood)

High schools serving Lakewood include:

ABC Unified School District
Elementary schools serving Lakewood:

Middle schools serving Lakewood:
  • Haskell Junior High School (Cerritos)
  • Tetzlaff Junior High School (Cerritos)

High schools serving Lakewood:


  2. Burt, Christopher. Extreme Weather: A Guide and Record Book. New York: Norton, 2004: 100.
  3. Demographics of Lakewood

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