Who chooses West Hollywood?
We think of West Hollywood as a community of choice. Most residents are here because they have chosen to move to this community, not because they grew up here. In fact, an unusually large share of the city’s residents move here every year. They come from another part of the county, the state, the country, or even the world. What do we know about them?
Number of people moving here
Over 5,500 new residents move to West Hollywood each year, based on Census Bureau estimates. That’s one in six residents (excluding infants) or 16%. It’s a bigger share of residents than in any nearby city, though Santa Monica is very close at 15%. Beverly Hills and Culver City are lower at 11%.
Los Angeles has the lowest number among nearby cities, 5%, because of its size. Los Angeles’ number rises to 14% if we include people who change homes but choose to stay in the same city. West Hollywood and Santa Monica are still in the lead by that measure, with 19% of residents having moved to or within the city in the prior year.
West Hollywood’s 16% just-moved-here percentage doesn’t just stand out locally. It’s in the 92nd percentile among California cities. If we focus on cities as big or bigger than West Hollywood, only seven have a higher percentage of residents who arrived in the prior year:
- Four university towns: Berkeley (#1), Davis, Santa Cruz, and San Luis Obispo
- Two fast-growing cities that also have correctional facilities: Chino and Dublin
- One other city: La Mesa (near San Diego)
The rest of this report uses Census Bureau survey data to get a rough profile of those who recently chose West Hollywood.
Women make up a bigger share of the new residents than they do of the city’s overall population. About half of the new residents are women. That is also true of the residents moving away from West Hollywood.
Half of the new residents coming to West Hollywood are in their 20s. Almost a quarter are in their 30s. Together, that’s about 75%.
The age distribution is quite different for residents as a whole. Twenty- and thirty-somethings are only 44% of the total population and 38% of residents who didn’t move in the prior year.
The pattern is also different among those leaving the city (or moving within it). About 60% of them are in their 20s and 30s: roughly 30% in their 20s and the same in their 30s.
An estimated 20% of new residents are foreign-born. That’s lower than the overall foreign-born share of the city’s population. Current foreign-born residents also appear to be less likely to move away.
The marriage rate is lower among people who recently moved to (or within) West Hollywood than the city as a whole: 16% versus 23%. Residents leaving West Hollywood are also a bit less likely to be married: 19%.
For context, marriage is generally less common in West Hollywood than nearby cities. Less than a quarter of West Hollywood residents aged 15 and up are married (and not separated). The equivalent number is over 35% in Santa Monica and Los Angeles and almost 50% in Beverly Hills, Burbank, and Culver City.
College degrees are more common among new residents (and those who move within the city) than the city’s population as a whole: 70% versus a little over 60%.
People moving to West Hollywood from elsewhere in Los Angeles (or moving within the city) have a higher median income than the city as a whole. On the other hand, the median income for new residents from other places — other countries, states, or parts of California — is lower than the overall number.
|MEDIAN INCOME COMPARED TO THE CITY’S MEDIAN INCOME|
|Income as a group versus median|
|New residents||From another part of Los Angeles*||✔|
|From anywhere else||✔|
|Residents who didn’t move||✔|
|Residents who moved away||To a non-LA part of California||✔|
|To anywhere else*||✔|
Despite the city’s rising rents, more new residents — almost 20% — fall below the poverty line. The figure for the city as a whole is about 15%.
An even higher share of new residents (and people moving within the city) rent compared to the city as a whole: 90% versus about 80%.
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