You know, South LA is a big place. But some people think it’s a lot bigger than it actually is. Today, we’re going to debunk some myths on what is considered South LA, and what isn’t.
So let’s jump into this by talking a bit about South LA history. The original neighborhood of the southern region of Los Angeles is called the Historic South Central, a 2.25-square-mile neighborhood bounded by the 110 Freeway to the west, Flower Street to the north, Vernon Avenue to the South, and—most importantly—Central Avenue to the East.
Central Avenue is important because the neighborhood originally got its name because the neighborhood started South of Washington on Central Avenue. South—Central. Over time, as the neighborhood grew, and black residents began to live in neighborhoods in southern regions in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, the entire region became known as South Central.
So why is this important? Well, some regions have been coupled in this South—Central expansion, when they’re actually their own cities. And other areas have been thought to be separate from the region.
Today, South LA spans 16-square miles and has 28 neighborhoods with a population of over 1 million people—which would easily put it in the top 20 largest cities if it were on its own. The boundaries of the region are pretty messy…
So let’s just go down the list.
Is Inglewood in South LA?
Nope, it’s not a part of South LA. It’s its own city. Inglewood is west of the Morningside Park
It Watts in South LA?
Yes, it’s a neighborhood in South LA and benefits from LA City services, including LAPD, 311, and Bulky Item pickup. Fun fact if you’re new to this channel: Watts was its own city until 1926, when Los Angeles annexed it.
Is Willowbrook in South LA?
Yes, technically. It’s an unincorporated part of the city. While it’s considered South LA, residents of Willowbrook don’t get city services, they get LA County services, which include 211. There also isn’t LAPD, but only sheriff patrol.
Is Compton a part of South LA?
No, it’s its own city. So much so, it actually has a Walmart, unlike LA City.
Is USC part of South LA?
Even though it doesn’t feel like it, look like it, seem like it, or accept it—it is a part of South LA. It’s actually quite fascinating to see how USC transforms almost instantly on Figueroa Street heading North past King, until Adams where the Popeye’s and 7/11 is.
Are Huntington Park, South Gate, and Lynwood a part of South LA?
Nope, these are all independent cities in LA County, but outside of the city limits.
Is View Park-Windsor Hills a part of South LA?
Yes, it is a part of South LA, but it’s an unincorporated part of South LA. So they don’t have an LAPD presence, but the sheriff instead.