13 Ways You’re Wrong About Los Angeles

All your stereotypes are false, and here’s why.

1. Myth: “Omg, L.A. is soooo obsessed with frozen yogurt.”

Flickr: cherrylet / Creative Commons

FACT: According to Pinkberry, the chain has 16 locations in Los Angeles. But there are 15 in New York, so cool it.

Analysis by IBISWorld named Pinkberry, Menchie’s, Red Mango, and Sweet Frog the top frozen yogurt purveyors — with an estimated 50% of market share in 2013. There are as many Menchie’s in California as there are in Florida. There are more Red Mango locations in Colorado than California. There are no Sweet Frogs in Los Angeles.

2. MYTH: “Los Angeles is all about tiny lapdogs.”

Flickr: jonnymooshoo / Creative Commons

FACT: In 2012, the American Kennel Club reported the top breed for L.A. was the bulldog. Not a poodle. Not a foofy little white dog. Bulldog. In fact, none of the top five are even particularly fluffy.

Furthermore, Animal Services reported 15,595 dog adoptions in 2012. Of those, 2,042 were pit bulls.

Look, Otis and Wally were adopted. They are not lap dogs, but pit bulls.


These pit bulls were adopted in Los Angeles with the help of Angel City Pit Bulls. Two tough-looking canine Angelenos, looking for love no more.

3. Myth: “LOL, everyone in L.A. drives a Prius.”

Flickr: scobleizer / Creative Commons

FACT: To be fair, the myth has basis in truth: In March 2012, Pricenomics reported that Los Angeles was the most popular place in the U.S. for a Prius hybrid, coming in narrowly ahead of San Francisco and Orange County. But Edmunds reported that for the first four months of 2012, it was the fourth most-registered vehicle in L.A., coming in after Civics, Camrys, and Accords. It’s popular. But it’s not the most popular.

Check this out: Many Angelenos don’t own cars at all.

Flickr: ubrayj02 / Creative Commons

(It is safe to say that this baby, pictured downtown, does not own a car.)

FACT: A 2010 research project by two UCLA professors determined Los Angeles has a lower rate of car ownership than San Francisco.

4. MYTH: “No one uses public transportation in Los Angeles.”

Flickr: jeremyiah / Creative Commons

FACT: Not really sure who you’re calling no one, since there are literally more than 1 million bus boardings each weekday — that’s just the bus, just on weekdays. Where did this myth even start?

5. MYTH: “Everyone in Los Angeles works in Hollywood.”

Flickr: sub-urban / Creative Commons

FACT: The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the biggest employment sector is trade, transportation, and utilities (i.e. wholesale, retail, warehousing, the transportation of passengers and cargo, and water/power/sewage services). According to California’s Employment Development Department, the fastest-growing occupations in Los Angeles County are biomedical engineers, home health aides, and “helpers, brickmasons, and tile setters.” Not one of the top 10 is a typical “Hollywood” job. The highest-wage occupations? No actors, mostly doctors. Producers and directors come in at 21st, below dentists.

6. MYTH: “All the chicks in L.A. are blondes.”

FACT: These are 11 girls marching with the Los Angeles Unified School District All-District Band. None are blondes.

Flickr: prayitnophotography / Creative Commons

This myth is not worth debunking further.

7. MYTH: “IRL, it never rains in L.A.”

Flickr: marc-flores / Creative Commons

FACT: Downtown Los Angeles gets about 15 inches a year, according to the National Climactic Data Center. Nine of those inches fall in December, January, and February. It rains, people, it really does.

8. MYTH: “Angelenos don’t read.”

Flickr: adulau / Creative Commons

FACT: There were more than 14 million visits to the public library during a 12-month period from 2012–2013. Fifteen million items were checked out. You read that right.

9. MYTH: “Los Angeles is crawling with Scientologists.”

Rick Wilking / Reuters

FACT: The largest group of worshippers is Roman Catholics, dogg, hate to disappoint. USC’s Center for Religion and Civic Culture had the Roman Catholics at 36% of the county’s population in 2010.

These are people praying at one of the oldest churches in the city.

Flickr: 15132846@N00 / Creative Commons

La Iglesia de Nuestra Señora Reina de Los Angeles (Church of Our Lady Queen of Angels) is a Catholic church built in the 1800s. In the 1980s, the church declared itself a sanctuary for Salvadoran refugees threatened with deportation.

10. MYTH: “All Angelenos are gym rats who are super obsessed with their appearance.”

FACT: The Department of Health reported in 2007 that 35% of adults in L.A. County are overweight and 20% are obese, so we’re pretty close to the national flab average (PDF here).

11. MYTH: “God, everyone in Los Angeles gets soooo much Botox.”

FACT: We do get more Botox, but not that much more. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (PDF here), the California “region” (which includes 12 other states) has the biggest share of cosmetic procedures — 28% of minimally invasive procedures (including Botox) in 2012. Coming in second place was the Northeast, with 22%. You’ve blown this out of proportion.

Our region does have more breast augmentation surgeries, so you win that one.

12. MYTH: “People in Los Angeles are so rich.”

FACT: The census says the median household income from 2007–2011 was $56,266 (the median for California was $61,632). During that time, 16.3% of the county’s citizens lived below the poverty line, which means there are more than a million people you’ve ignored.

13. MYTH: “Everyone in L.A., like, totally talks like a Valley girl all the time.”


FACT: The 2010 census says more than 56% of people over 5 in the county speak a language other than English at home. So, like, your stereotype is wack.

All these people grew up in Los Angeles.


Eva Mendes. Ice Cube. John Cho.

This is Los Angeles.

Hannam Supermarket, Koreatown

This is Los Angeles.

Flickr: calvinfleming / Creative Commons

Echo Park Lake, Echo Park

This is Los Angeles.

Flickr: stevedevol / Creative Commons

Watts Labor Community Action Committee Center, Watts

This is Los Angeles.

Lincoln Park, Lincoln Heights

This is Los Angeles.

Flickr: 77799978@N00 / Creative Commons

Holy Transfiguration Russian Orthodox Church, Little Armenia

This is Los Angeles.

Central Plaza, Chinatown

L.A., you’re impossible to pigeonhole!

CW / Via tumblr.com

Tyra, don’t front like you’re surprised. You’re from Inglewood!

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