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Historical Census
Racial/Ethnic Numbers in Los Angeles County
1850 to 1980

Chinatown in Los Angeles, 1922

Chinatown in Los Angeles, 1922. Photo by Paul Grenbeaux, courtesy of Library of Congress.

Also see: Racial/Ethnic Composition, Los Angeles County, 1990-2010 Census

1850 - 1950

Census Year Total Population White Black Chinese Indian Japanese Mexican (2) Others
1850 3,530 3,518 12 2 --- --- --- ---
1860 11,333 11,246 87 (1) 11 2,014 --- --- ---
1870 15,309 14,720 134 234 219 2 --- ---
1880 33,381 31,707 188 1,169 316 1 --- ---
1890 101,454 95,033 1,817 4,424 144 36 --- ---
1900 170,298 163,975 2,841 3,209 69 204 --- ---
1910 504,131 483,478 9,424 2,602 97 8,461 --- 69
1920 936,455 894,507 18,738 2,591 281 19,911 --- 427
1930 2,208,492 1,949,882 46,425 3,572 997 35,390 167,024 5,202
1940 2,785,643 2,660,042 75,209 5,330 1,378 36,866 --- 6,818
1950 4,151,687 3,877,944 217,881 9,187 1,671 36,761 --- 8,243

(1) Black & Mulatto
(2) The racial category "Mexican" was only counted in the 1930 Census.


In 1850, the U.S. Census recorded 12 free blacks, 8 Jews and 2 Chinese residing in Los Angeles County.

1960 - 1970

Census Year Total Population White Black Chinese Indian Japanese Filipino Others
1960 6,039,771 5,453,866 461,546 19,286 8,109 77,314 12,122 6,528
1970 7,032,075 6,006,499 762,844 40,798 24,509 104,078 33,459 59,888

1980

Census Year Total Population White Black Chinese American Indian & Eskimo, Aleut Japanese
White, Total White, Spanish Origin (3) White, not of Spanish Origin
1980 7,477,503 5,073,617 1,120,014 3,953,603 943,968 93,747 48,120 116,543

Census Year Filipino Korean Asian Indian Vietnamese Hawaiian & Pacific Islander Others Spanish Origin (All Races) (3)
1980 (continued) 99,043 60,618 18,562 28,696 17,641 976,948 2,066,103

(3) The 1980 Census introduced non-racial category "Spanish Origin," reflecting, unlike any other category, not a person's race, but their ethnic/cultural origin (i.e., Mexican, Cuban, Puerto Rican, etc.). Persons of "Spanish Origin" also identified with any of the distinct racial categories (i.e. White, Black, American Indian, etc.). The larger number of persons identified as "Spanish Origin" also identified as "White."


Sources: U.S. Census Decennial Census Official Publications and University of Virginia Geospatial & Statistical Data Center.