Setting: The City of Lakewood is located in Los Angeles County, 23 miles southeast of Los Angeles. The area of the city is about 9.5 square miles.
Incorporation: Lakewood incorporated on April 16, 1954.
Current population: The 2020 United States Census reported that Lakewood had a population of 82,496 living in 25,756 households. 72% of the city's homes were owner occupied. The 2020 population density was 8,767 people per square mile, making Lakewood more than twice as dense as suburbs nationally.
Economy: The economic base of the city is primarily commercial/retail. Almost 3,000 businesses are located in Lakewood.
City Services: Contract services represent about 35% to 40% of the city’s operating budget. Lakewood contracts with private firms for information technology management, trash collection, signal maintenance, and street sweeping. By contract, Los Angeles County provides law enforcement, road repair, and building inspection. Parks, recreation and cultural activities, community development, landscape maintenance, a water utility in western Lakewood, and general administrative services are provided directly by the city.
Government: Lakewood is a general law city, governed under the laws of the state of California. (Charter cities are formed on the basis of a city charter adopted by the state legislature. Today, there is very little difference between a charter city and general law city.)
Lakewood's five city council members are elected by district for overlapping four-year terms. The city council appoints the city manager and the city attorney. The city manager is responsible to the city council for the management of the city’s workforce, carrying out city council policies, and the city’s budget.
The city council appoints the members of Community Safety Commission, the Planning and Environment Commission, and the Recreation and Community Services Commission. Commissioners are Lakewood residents who serve without compensation. Each commission has five members.
The first city council members in 1954 were Angelo M. Iacoboni and Gene Nebeker (elected to four-year terms) and William J. Burns, George Nye, Jr., and Robert W. Baker (elected to two-year terms). The arrangement of the first terms of council members ensured that city council elections would occur every two years and terms would overlap.
The office of mayor in Lakewood was originally held for a two-year term. Beginning in 1976, the office of mayor changed to a one-year term. The mayor is chosen from among the five council members. The position is mostly ceremonial, although the mayor does preside at council meetings.