Hawthorne is a city in southwestern Los Angeles County, California, a 17-city area commonly known as the South Bay. As of the 2010 US census, it had a population of 84,293. In 2019, the population was estimated at 86,068.
The city was founded in 1905 as the "Hawthorne Improvement Company" by B.L. Harding and H.D. Lombard. Harding's daughter shared her birthday—the 4th of July, American Independence Day—with New England author Nathaniel Hawthorne, and a decision was made to name the city after him.
Hawthorne was once a "whites only" settlement, commonly called a sundown town. During the 1930s, signs warned African-Americans to be out of Hawthorne by sundown.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has an area of 6.1 square miles (16 km2), over 99% of it land.
To the north of Hawthorne is the unincorporated community of Lennox and the city of Inglewood. To the east is the unincorporated community of Athens and the city of Gardena. To the south is the unincorporated community of El Camino Village, and the cities of Lawndale and Redondo Beach. Manhattan Beach is at the southwest corner of Hawthorne. To the west is the city of El Segundo, and the Los Angeles neighborhood of Westchester is to the northwest of Hawthorne.