Also see: Historical General Population, City & County of Los Angeles, 1850-2010
Census counts were not consistently taken prior to 1850. We know that 44 people originally populated the Pueblo de los Angeles in 1781 with perhaps another 600 or more living at the nearby missions (most of whom were Indian). By 1790, the pueblo had grown to a population of about 315 with another 1,400 to 1,500 living in areas surrounding the pueblo (including the missions).
Decades later, in 1836, a census was conducted for Ciudad de los Angeles counting 1,675 “gente de razon” (“people of reason” or non-Indians) and 555 Indians. Of these, 50 were foreigners, including 20 Americans, 5 French, 4 English, 2 Portuguese, 2 Africans and the rest from other European countries. In 1844, another census was taken that counted 1,847 “gente de razon” and 650 Indians. Of these, 55 were foreigners including 26 Americans.
Sources: Los Angeles Citywide Historic Context Statement, Context: Spanish Colonial and Mexican Era Settlement, 1781-1849, SurveyLA, Daniel Prosser, Contributor, 2016
The Small City Will be a Mexican Paradise: Exploring the Origins of Mexican Culture in Los Angeles, 1821-1846 by Michael J. Gonzalez, 2005, University of New Mexico Press.