The 2000 U.S. census counted 7,691 residents in the 6.37-square-mile (16.5 km2) Bel Air neighborhood; with 1,207 per square mile (466/km2) it has among the lowest population densities for the city and the county. In 2008, the city estimated that the population had increased to 8,253.
In 2000 the median age for residents was 46, which was high for city and county neighborhoods. The percentages of residents aged 50 and older was among the county’s highest.
The median yearly household income in 2008 dollars was $207,938, the highest figure for any neighborhood or city in Los Angeles County. Renters occupied 14.5% of the housing stock, and house- or apartment-owners held 85.5%. The average household size of 2.4 people was considered typical for Los Angeles.
The 4.1% of families headed by single parents was considered low for city and county neighborhoods. The percentages of married people in Bel Air were among the county’s highest—66.0% for men and 65.7% for women. There were 808 veterans, or 12.9% of the population.
The neighborhood was considered “not especially diverse” ethnically within Los Angeles, with a relatively high percentage of white people. The breakdown was whites, 83.0%; Asians, 8.2%; Latinos, 4.6%; blacks, 0.9%; and others, 3.2%. Iran (26.1%) and South Africa (8.2%) were the most common places of birth for the 24.1% of the residents who were born abroad—which was an average percentage for Los Angeles as a whole.
Bel Air is situated about 12 miles (19 km) west of Downtown Los Angeles and includes some of the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains. It lies across Sunset Boulevard from the northern edge of the main campus of the University of California, Los Angeles. At the heart of the community sits the Bel-Air Country Club and the Hotel Bel-Air.
Along with Beverly Hills and the Los Angeles community of Brentwood, it is one of the “Three Bs”, a wealthy area in the Los Angeles Westside.
This region experiences warm and dry summers, with no average monthly temperatures above 71.6 °F (22.0 °C). According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Bel Air has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate, abbreviated “Csb” on climate maps.
Of several entrances, there are two main ones: (1) the East Gate at Beverly Glen and Sunset Boulevards and (2) the West Gate at Bellagio Way and Sunset Boulevard, opposite an entrance to UCLA. Bel Air is generally subdivided into three distinct neighborhoods: East Gate Old Bel Air, West Gate Bel Air, and Upper Bel Air.
Bel Air Estates, the original subdivision of the Bel Air community, is generally bounded by Nimes Road to the north, Sunset Boulevard to the south, Beverly Glen Boulevard to the east and both sides of Bel Air Road to the west.[