Gateway Cities

The Gateway Cities Region, or Southeast Los Angeles County (also shortened to Southeast Los Angeles and Southeast LA) is a largely urbanized region located in southeastern Los Angeles County, Southern California between the City of Los Angeles, Orange County, and the Pacific Ocean. The cluster of cities acquired the name because they are situated literally as the "gateway" between the two counties, with the central city of Cerritos located equidistant from downtown LA, Long Beach, and the center of Orange County.[1] It is part of the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), and has a population of approximately two million.[2]

Despite its predominating urban fabric of single-family homes with low-scale multifamily residential structures, Southeast LA County comprises some of the most densely populated municipalities in the United States.[3][4]

The "Gateway Cities Council of Governments" (GCCOG) is located in the city of Paramount.

Cities in the Gateway region

Area residents identify as being part of urban Los Angeles, despite living in independent municipalities. The following cities are members of the Gateway Cities Council of Governments:

Also members of the Gateway Cities Council of Governments:

Higher education


The region hosts a variety of colleges and universities:

InstitutionLocationFoundedTypeEnrollmentShorthandNicknamePrimary ConferenceDivision
Biola University La Mirada 1901 Private 4,011 Biola Eagles Golden State Athletic 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



Southeast LA County's Long Beach Airport (LGB) provides regular direct flights to and from the following (though the region can also be easily accessed from other airports in the Los Angeles region):

Sea and heavy rail

The Port of Long Beach is also located within the region, at the nation's second busiest port,[5] as well as significant freight rail infrastructure running through Vernon, Commerce, Industry, Santa Fe Springs, and Pico Rivera; as well as lines running between the Port of Long Beach and Vernon & Commerce.

Commuter and light rail

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


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

Cities also part of other LA County regions

Many cities of Southeast LA County share geographic identity with other parts of LA County, including: South Los Angeles (on north), Los Angeles Harbor Region (within south GC), East Los Angeles Region, South Bay Region (on west), and the San Gabriel Valley (on northeast).

San Gabriel Valley Region:

  • Montebello
  • Whittier

East Los Angeles Region:

  • Commerce
  • Montebello
  • Pico Rivera
  • Whittier
  • Huntington Park

South Los Angeles Region:

  • Compton
  • Lynwood

Los Angeles Harbor Region:

  • Avalon
  • Carson
  • Long Beach
  • Hawaiian Gardens
  • Signal Hill
  • Lakewood


  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
  5. White, Ronald D. (2011-08-07). "Long Beach port chief's long voyage nears an end". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035.
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