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Santa Monica, CA, is located in West Los Angeles County is home to a little more than 90,000 people. It is best known as a resort town – it attracts a lot of people because it enjoys great weather throughout the year like many other cities in California. In fact, the population and size of the city have both grown steadily since the 1980’s as a result of tourism, job growth and a revitalization of the its downtown area. Residents of the city will tell you that one of the things that they are most proud of is the culture – there are a lot of things in Santa Monica that are unique and that have been handed down from generation to generation.

Santa Monica has a long history – so long in fact that it cannot all be covered here. However, it is worthwhile to mention that it was initially settled by the Tongva people who spoke the Tongva language. The modern-day history of Santa Monica starts almost 100 years after many other cities in America had come to life. In 1769 the first non-native arrived and camped at what is the present day intersection of Barrington and Ohio Avenues. His name was Gaspar de Portola and he along with fellow travelers decided that naming the city after the Christian saint Monica seemed apt. In the intervening years the Mexican- American war was fought, a treaty was signed and California officially became part of America. Almost 100 years after the first settlers arrived Santa Monica was connected to Los Angeles by rail and a town hall was built. It still stands as Santa Monica’s oldest building.

Two prominent entrepreneurs are credited with the growth of the city. They were Colonel Robert Baker, who specialized in mining equipment as well as cattle and sheep ranching, and Senator John Jones of Nevada was owned silver mines. They bought land around the city which they hoped to convert into a thriving port. According to, here is how one sales pitch read: “We will sell at public outcry to the highest bidder the Pacific Ocean draped with western sky of scarlet and gold; we will sell a bay filled with white winged ships; we will sell a southern horizon, rimmed with a choice of purple mountains carved in castles and turrets and domes; a frostless, bracing, warm yet languid air braided in and out with sunshine and adorned with breath of flowers.”

The dream of building a port was never to be – instead, the scenic attributes of the city prevailed and it eventually started to thrive as a tourist city and resort. By the 1880’s the city had grown to include 3rd Main Street and has never looked back since then. This is not to say that it hasn’t had its low periods – there were rate wars between merchants, flooding and other catastrophes which all lead to Santa Monica as we know it today. In the early 1900’s film making came to the city in the form of the Vitagraph Film Company which was closely followed by Rapp Saloon and others. Aircraft manufacture was soon to follow and it is interesting to note that the first around-the-world flight launched in Santa Monica.

Today, Santa Monica is home to people of all races, and most of them make a good living. The average income for a family is about $110,000. Only about 10% of the population lives below the poverty line which is not so bad when compared to national averages. That said, when compared to some other cities in California it is high – there are some very prosperous ones. Crime levels are much lower than the average American city and affect only about 5% of the population. Hate crimes are scarce – sometimes only one hate crime a year is reported. The general lifestyle is relaxed and people who live in this city seem to love it.

If you are moving to Santa Monica you may be wondering about employers. The biggest one is the city, which is closely followed by institutions like the Santa Monica UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica College, Saint John’s Medical Center, RAND Corporation, Lionsgate Entertainment and others. These are just the big ones – remember this is a resort city with plenty of tourism so there are many hotels, restaurants and other hospitality-related employers. It is also a popular spot for shooting movies – hundreds have been made there and you may interested to know that shows like Baywatch, NCIS LA, Pacific Blue and Buffy the Vampire Slayer were all shot in Santa Monica.

As for schools, there are many elementary schools that are managed by the city’s school system but there are alternatives to those who want a different kind of education. There is a variety of high schools to choose from as well. As for colleges you are spoilt for choice. According to Wikipedia, “Universities and colleges within a 22-mile (35 km) radius from Santa Monica include Santa Monica College, Antioch University Los Angeles, Loyola Marymount University, Mount St. Mary’s College, Pepperdine University, California State University, Northridge, California State University, Los Angeles, UCLA, USC, West Los Angeles College, California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Occidental College (Oxy), Los Angeles City College, Los Angeles Southwest College, Los Angeles Valley College, and Emperor’s College of Traditional Oriental Medicine.”

Like the rest of Los Angeles real estate prices are higher than the national average in Santa Monica. According to, “Santa Monica saw the biggest increase in high-end single-family house sales (sales over $3 million) across the top 33 markets, way beyond other fancy neighborhoods. Shining a light on the increased demand for real estate here, the regional rep for Sotheby’s says in a press release that it’s a combo of the heightened summertime appeal of its relaxing beach culture.” This is not to say that you cannot get real estate at affordable rates – if you work with the right real estate agent you will get a home that you can afford in a good neighborhood.