Los Alamos (Spanish: Los Álamos, meaning "The Cottonwoods" or "The Poplars") is a town in Los Alamos County, New Mexico, United States that is recognized as the birthplace of the atomic bomb––the primary objective of the Manhattan Project by Los Alamos National Laboratory during World War II. The town is located on four mesas of the Pajarito Plateau, and has a population of 12,019. It is the county seat and one of two population centers in the county known as census-designated places (CDPs); the other is White Rock.
Los Alamos is located approximately 35 mi (56 km) to the northwest of Santa Fe. The elevation at the post office is 7,320 feet (2,230 m) and total land area is 11.14 square miles (28.9 km²)
The Los Alamos Townsite and White Rock are located on flat mesa tops separated by steep canyons. This location was chosen for its relative inaccessibility to help protect the secret activities of the Manhattan Project.
The town of Los Alamos was built on four mesas—Barranca Mesa, North Mesa, Los Alamos Mesa and South Mesa—along with the connecting communities at the base of the mountain. LANL occupies half of South Mesa, Two Mile Mesa, Frijoles Mesa, Mesita de Buey and several nearby areas in the region (in the valleys and at the base of the mountain). White Rock lies at the top of White Rock Canyon.
Much of Los Alamos County is within the Española Ranger District of the Santa Fe National Forest.
The current population is 12,019 with a population density of 1,078.7 inhabitants per square mile (416.5/km²). The median age is 40 years. 24.8% of the people are under the age of 18, 4.8% are ages 18 to 24, 29.2% are ages 25 to 44, 28.2% are ages 45 to 64, and 12.9% are ages 65 years or older. For every 100 females, there were 101.3 males.
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