The Gateway Cities, shaded in blue (the boundary is generalized)

The Gateway Cities Region, or Southeast Los Angeles County (also shortened to Southeast Los Angeles and Southeast LA), is an urbanized region located in southeastern Los Angeles County, California, between the City of Los Angeles proper, Orange County, and the Pacific Ocean. The cluster of cities has been termed "Gateway Cities" in that they serve as a "gateway" between the LA and Orange counties, with the city of Cerritos equidistant from Downtown L.A., Long Beach, and Santa Ana in Orange County.[1] As such, the area is central to the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), and has a population of approximately 2,000,000 residents.[2]

Despite a predominating urban fabric of single-family homes and low-rise multifamily residential structures, Southeast LA County comprises some of the most densely populated municipalities in the United States.[3][4] As with other regions of Los Angeles, Southeast LA's demographics are notable for ethnic and age diversity.

The Gateway Cities Council of Governments (GCCOG), the coordinating body for the Southeast LA Region, is located in the city of Paramount.[5]

Cities of Southeast LA

Gateway Cities

Area residents generally identify as being part of urban Los Angeles, despite technically living in separate, independent municipalities. The following cities are members of the Gateway Cities Council of Governments,[6] though these cities at times may also be considered part of other LA regions, including the San Gabriel Valley Region, East Los Angeles Region, the South Los Angeles Region, and the Los Angeles Harbor Region.

Also members of the Gateway Cities Council of Governments:

Higher education


The region hosts the following colleges and universities:

Institution Location Founded Type Enrollment Shorthand Nickname Primary Conference Division
Biola University La Mirada 1901 Private 4,011 Biola Eagles Pacific West Conference NCAA Division II
California State University, Long Beach Long Beach 1949 Public 37,776 Cal State Long Beach 49ers Big West Conference NCAA Division I
Whittier College Whittier 1887 Private 2,259 Whittier Poets Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference NCAA Division III
Southern California University of Health Sciences Whittier 1911 Private Graduate 469 SCU None - -

Community colleges

Institution Location Founded Enrollment Nickname Primary Conference Division
Cerritos College Norwalk 1955 22,731 Falcons South Coast Conference CCCAA
Compton College Compton 1927 7,018 Tartars South Coast Conference CCCAA
Long Beach City College Long Beach 1927 24,650 Vikings South Coast Conference CCCAA
Rio Hondo College Whittier 1963 19,948 Roadrunners South Coast Conference CCCAA



Southeast LA County's Long Beach Airport (LGB) provides Southeast LA regular direct flights to and from approximately a dozen cities in the Western United States.[7]

Sea and heavy rail

The Port of Long Beach, located in Southeast LA, is the second busiest port in the United States,[8] Significant freight rail infrastructure runs through Vernon, Commerce, Industry, Santa Fe Springs, and Pico Rivera; as well as lines running between the Port of Long Beach and Vernon & Commerce.[9]

Commuter and light rail

The LA Metro connects Southeast LA County to Greater Los Angeles via the following commuter and light rail lines:


Given its high population, Southeast LA is noticeably crisscrossed with regional freeway infrastructure, connecting it to other parts of Greater Los Angeles, Orange County, and the Inland Empire. The following freeways directly service Southeast LA County:


  1. ^ Sonksen, Mike (March 13, 2015). "On Location: Cerritos". KCET. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
  2. ^ "Demographics of the Gateway Cities COG Region". Gateway Cities Site Selector.
  3. ^ List of United States cities by population density [circular reference]
  4. ^ [not specific enough to verify]
  5. ^ "Gateway Cities Council of Governments". Retrieved April 7, 2021.
  6. ^ "Gateway Cities Council of Governments".
  7. ^ "Airlines and Destinations".
  8. ^ White, Ronald D. (2011-08-07). "Long Beach port chief's long voyage nears an end". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035.
  9. ^ "California Railroads".
  10. ^ Schlepp, Travis (2024-01-22). "Metro project with 'confusing' moniker gets new name". KTLA. Retrieved 2024-01-24.