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Historical Resident Population
Spanish & Mexican Period
1781 to 1846

Pueblo & Cuidad de Los Angeles

Diorama of Spanish-Mexican Hacienda in early Los Angeles, Whittier Narrows Nature Center. Los Angeles Almanac Photo.

Also see: Historical General Population, City & County of Los Angeles, 1850-2010

Census counts in the Los Angeles area 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 Spanish racial label at the time for persons who were not Indian) and 555 Indians. Of these, 50 were foreigners, including 20 Americans, 5 French, 4 English, 2 Portuguese, 2 Africans and the remainder from other European countries. In 1844, another census was taken, counting 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.