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Dear LAist: When Does One Become An Angeleno?

John Marrott takes a selfie with downtown Los Angeles in the background from a hill in Echo Park. (Andrew Cullen for LAist)
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Between 2012 and 2016, an average of 214,577 people moved into Los Angeles County each year, and an average of 312,000 people moved out, according to a census estimate. With so many folks coming and going, inquiring minds want to know: Who gets to call themselves an Angeleno (you're automatically out of the running if you spell it with an "i," sorrynotsorry)?

Or, as reader Jonathan Eby put it, "When does one become an Angeleno? Is there a waiting period? Can that period be expedited if you know the neighborhoods better than your mom who grew up here? Or if you drink juice from a mason jar?"

The answers to those questions are between you and your god, Jonathan, but we asked around our newsroom here at KPCC/LAist, and got many, many replies.

Some of them are harsher than others, and some contradict each other. Nevertheless, here's what folks had to say:

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You become an Angeleno when you...

  • Have lived here for four to five years
  • Have lived here for 10 years


When you...

  • Can connect all the disconnected cities and areas in your mind, and know how to get around without Google Maps every single time
  • Slip into "route talk": "Oh yeah, don't mess with the 10; just take the 405 to the 105..."
  • Know to "take Fountain"
  • Know NOT to "take Fountain"
  • Go back to your hometown and refer to local interstate highways like I-395 as "The 395" and your friends and family call you out on it
  • See a car chase happening around you on the freeway

Traffic flows east on the Interstate 10 freeway down FasTrak express lanes (L) and regular lanes in Los Angeles on September 18, 2019. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)


When you...

  • Fully accept that Eastside means east of the river
  • Know the difference between the two Valleys
  • Have said to yourself, "Yeah, they're on the other side of the 405. Maybe we shouldn't be friends..."
  • Tell someone the distance between two places in time and not in miles


When you...

  • Experience an early morning earthquake and immediately roll over and go back to sleep
  • Put together your first earthquake kit
Angel's Flight, which has been dubbed "the shortest railway in the world," was featured in the 2016 film La La Land. (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)
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When you...

  • Know all the places in La La Land
  • Run into celebrities while being out and about
  • Have wandered across more than one film shoot


When you...

  • Know all the In-N-Out locations and the right/wrong times to go
  • Have your go-to In-N-Out order


When you...

  • Break out a winter coat and hat when it drops below 70
  • Throw a party when it rains
  • Can't go outside in 65° weather without a jacket


When you...

  • Opt to stay in town for all major holidays, because everyone else leaves and it's glorious
  • Love the city as it truly is vs. the fantasy version
  • Leave L.A. for a few weeks or months or years and miss it desperately -- warts and all
  • Can artfully defend the legitimacy and vibrancy of L.A. to a New Yorker
  • Don't care what New Yorkers think


When you...

  • Get out of the bubble that allows you to maintain your allegiance to another place and start building a community of people who are from here
  • Have your first friend group here - not through grad school, not friends from high school who moved here, but friends made in L.A. on your own terms


When you...

  • Beat someone who was raised here at thumb wrestling

A Los Angeles Dodgers fan cheers amongst the Astros fans during the Houston Astros World Series watch party at Minute Maid Park on Oct. 31, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Bob Levey/Getty Images)


  • You renounce all your previous sports teams affiliations and wear a Dodgers hat. That iconic L.A. logo. Wear it proud.
  • If you moved to L.A., never.


Tell us what you think below.

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