Long Beach was founded in 1880 as Willmore City and was incorporated in 1888. The town grew as a seaside resort (The Pike was one of the most famous beachside amusement parks on the West coast from 1910 until the 1960's) and then as an oil, Navy, and port town.
In 1933 a magnitude 6.3 earthquake caused significant damage to the city and surrounding areas. Most of the damage occurred in unreinforced masonry buildings, especially schools. 120 people died in the earthquake.
The Port of Long Beach is the second busiest seaport in the United States and the tenth busiest in the world, shipping some 66 million metric tons of cargo worth $95 billion in 2001. The port serves shipping between the United States and the Pacific Rim. The combined operations of the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles are the busiest in the US.
The R. M. S. Queen Mary has been located in Long Beach since her retirement. The Aquarium of the Pacific, a world-class research facility, is a popular tourist destination. The Grand Prix of Long Beach, an annual IndyCar race, takes place on city streets near the Convention Center and is one of the largest grand prix events in the world. Long Beach is the site of a large community college, a California State University campus, and a Veterans hospital.
Signal Hill is an incorporated city surrounded entirely by Long Beach.
Rapper Snoop Dogg was born in Long Beach.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 170.6 km² (65.9 mi²). 130.6 km² (50.4 mi²) of it is land and 40.0 km² (15.4 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 23.42% water.
As of the census of 2000, there are 461,522 people, 163,088 households, and 99,646 families residing in the city. The population density is 3,532.8/km² (9,149.8/mi²). There are 171,632 housing units at an average density of 1,313.8/km² (3,402.6/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 45.16% White, 14.87% African American, 0.84% Native American, 12.05% Asian, 1.21% Pacific Islander, 20.61% from other races, and 5.27% from two or more races. 35.77% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 163,088 households out of which 35.0% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.2% are married couples living together, 16.1% have a female householder with no husband present, and 38.9% are non-families. 29.6% of all households are made up of individuals and 7.4% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.77 and the average family size is 3.55.
In the city the population is spread out with 29.2% under the age of 18, 10.9% from 18 to 24, 32.9% from 25 to 44, 18.0% from 45 to 64, and 9.1% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 31 years. For every 100 females there are 96.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 93.5 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $37,270, and the median income for a family is $40,002. Males have a median income of $36,807 versus $31,975 for females. The per capita income for the city is $19,040. 22.8% of the population and 19.3% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 32.7% are under the age of 18 and 11.0% are 65 or older.