The Best City For International Culture: Los Angeles, California

Living in one of the most immigrant-friendly cities in the world, LA residents enjoy a global metropolis bustling with cultural diversity.

Residents of Los Angeles would say that the city has it all—beaches, mountains, nightlife, universities and the world’s oldest and largest national film industry.

 
This wealth of possibility is bolstered by the fact that L.A. is also one of the most multicultural cities in the world. According to The Culture Trip, it’s home to people from around 140 countries who speak 86 different languages.
 
 
Why is L.A. so darn multicultural? For one, in late 2017, California was the first state to effectively become a “sanctuary state” for immigrants. Out of the estimated 10 million immigrants currently living in California, L.A. is home to nearly 3.5 million—around 35% of the city’s population.
 
 
“A lot of cultures come together to make Los Angeles a truly diverse and great city,” said Matthew Paul, a residential real estate agent, investment property specialist and fourth-generation Angeleno. “As you walk down the street, you can hear so many different languages spoken, smell different, incredible cuisines, and be among a melting pot of people.”
 
 
L.A. has a reputation for being geographically spread out and oriented around natural terrain (see: “The Valley”) and traffic-locked freeways. However, upon closer look, many of the areas have grown out of historic development patterns—including immigrants’ desire to build communities that remind them of home.
 
 
“People like to be around others with whom they can communicate and keep their cultures and traditions alive,” said Paul. “A lot of these families have been living in their communities for a long time, generation after generation.
 
 
Los Angeles is home to neighborhoods officially named things like Little Armenia, Thai Town, Chinatown, Little Tokyo, Persian Square and Koreatown, as well as areas that have become densely populated with specific demographics, like Boyle Heights, a predominantly Latinx neighborhood. As a city with open arms and a spirit of “anything is possible,” L.A. is a place where people from all over the world move to pursue their dreams.
 
 
For anyone whose dream is buying a home in this global metropolis, Paul noted that because of its visibility in popular culture, “Everyone knows Beverly Hills and 90210. It’s a great place for international transplants—but it is a high-end neighborhood.”
 
 
According to Curbed, the median price for homes and condos in L.A. as of April 2019 was $607,750, up 3% from the previous year. At the time of publication, Redfin rates the housing market as “Somewhat Competitive” with homes typically receiving two offers before a sale.
 
 
“Prices have steadily been going up for around nine years,” said Paul. “The number of days on the market has also gone up a bit—it’s taking longer to sell than a year ago. Interest rates are still low, though.”
 
 
In the coming years, Paul predicts good news for L.A. buyers and sellers. “I see it continuing to be a strong market,” he said. “Our low interest rates and prices compared to the rest of the world are very attractive to a lot of people, especially those living internationally. A lot of times the markets in other countries aren’t as stable, so they want to invest over here. And L.A.’s prices are much more reasonable than a lot of other big metropolitan cities like New York, London, Paris and San Francisco.”
 
 
Overall, Los Angeles offers a plethora of options for the internationally curious to explore a variety of cultures, all in one picturesque city. “It’s such a desirable place,” said Paul. “The weather is great, and you get gorgeous views with a lot of variety in terms of home styles. That’s what attracts people from all over the world.”