San Bernardino County
|Counties||Riverside and San Bernardino|
|Ten largest cities by population (2010 U.S. Census)||
- Riverside (RV)
- San Bernardino (SB)
- Fontana (SB)
- Moreno Valley (RV)
- Rancho Cucamonga (SB)
- Ontario (SB)
- Pomona (LA)
- Corona (RV)
- Victorville (SB)
- Temecula (RV)
- Murrieta (RV)
|• Metro||27,298 sq mi (70,669 km2)|
|Elevation||−220 – 11,499 ft (−67.1 – 3,507 m)|
|• Density||147.5/sq mi (56.9/km2)|
|• Urban||1,506,816 (25th)|
|• Urban density||3,434.1/sq mi (1,325.9/km2)|
|• Metro||4,224,851 (13th)|
|Time zone||PST (UTC−08:00)|
|• Summer (DST)||PDT (UTC−07:00)|
The Inland Empire (I.E.) is a metropolitan area and region of Southern California. It is situated directly east of the Los Angeles metropolitan area. The term "Inland Empire" is most commonly used in reference to the U.S. Census Bureau federally defined Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario metropolitan area, which covers more than 27,000 square miles (70,000 km2). The metropolitan area consists of Riverside County and San Bernardino County.
According to the Census Bureau, the counties of San Bernardino and Riverside are home to over 4 million people, and together they make up the 13th-most populous metropolitan area in the United States, and the third-most populous in the state of California. Most of the area's population is located in the southwest of San Bernardino County and the northwest of Riverside County. At the end of the 19th century, the Inland Empire was a major center of agriculture, including citrus, dairy, and wine-making. Agriculture declined through the 20th century, and since the 1970s a rapidly growing population, fed by families migrating in search of affordable housing, has led to more residential, industrial, and commercial development. The U.S. Census Bureau also combines the Los Angeles metropolitan area and the Inland Empire into one larger region known as the Greater Los Angeles Area with a population of over 17 million.
- Etymology 1
- History 2
- Physical geography 3.1
- Political geography 3.2
- Boundaries and definitions 3.3
- Housing 4.1
- Retail 4.2
Environmental quality 5
- Air pollution 5.1
- Water pollution 5.2
- Public transportation 6.1
- Airports 6.2
- Bicycle trails 6.3
- Politics 7.1
- Religion 7.2
- Crime 7.3
- Education 7.4
- Employment 7.5
- Music 8.1
- Performing arts 8.2
- Sports 8.3
- Newspapers 8.4.1
- Radio 8.4.2
- Television 8.4.3
- Film 8.4.4
- Incorporated cities 9
- See also 10
- References 11
- External links 12
The term "Inland Empire" is documented to have been used by the Riverside Enterprise newspaper (now The Press-Enterprise) as early as April 1914. Developers in the area likely introduced the term to promote the region and to highlight the area's unique features. The "Inland" part of the name is derived from the region's location, about 60 miles (97 km) inland from Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean. Originally, this area was called the Orange Empire due to the acres of citrus groves that once extended from Pasadena to Redlands during the first half of the 20th century. The Inland Empire is a nebulous region, but is defined as the cities of western Riverside County and the cities of southwestern San Bernardino County; adjacent to the Los Angeles metropolitan area. A generally broader definition will include the desert community of Palm Springs and its surrounding area, and a much larger definition will include all of San Bernardino and Riverside counties.
What is now known as the Inland Empire was inhabited for thousands of years, prior to the late eighteenth century, by the Tongva, Serrano, and Cahuilla Native Americans. With Spanish colonization and the subsequent Mexican era the area was sparsely populated at the land grant Ranchos, considering it unsuitable for missions. The first American settlers arrived over the Cajon Pass in 1851, a group of Mormon pioneers who were the first residents of San Bernardino. Although the Mormons left a scant six years later, recalled to Salt Lake City by Brigham Young during the church's Utah War with the US government, other settlers soon followed.
The entire landmass of Southern California was subdivided according to the San Bernardino Meridian, which was first plotted as part of the Public Land Survey System in November 1852, by Col. Henry Washington. Base Line road, a major thoroughfare, today runs from Highland to San Dimas, intermittently along the absolute baseline coordinates plotted by Col. Washington. San Bernardino County was first formed out of parts of Los Angeles County on April 26, 1853. While the partition once included what is today most of Riverside County, the region is not as monolithic as it may sound. Rivalries between Colton, Redlands, Riverside and San Bernardino over the location of the county seat in the 1890s caused each of them to form their own civic communities, each with their own newspapers. On August 14, 1893 the Senate allowed Riverside County to form out of land previously in San Bernardino and San Diego counties, after rejecting a bill for Pomona to split from L.A. County and become the seat of what would have been called San Antonio County.
The arrival of rail and the importation of navel and Valencia orange trees in the 1870s touched off explosive growth, with the area quickly becoming a major center for citrus production. This agricultural boom continued with the arrival of water from the Colorado River and the rapid growth of Los Angeles in the early 20th century, with dairy farming becoming another staple industry. In 1926, Route 66 (now known as Foothill Boulevard and Interstate 215) came through the northern parts of the area, bringing a stream of tourists and migrants to the region. Still, the region endured as the key part of the Southern California "Citrus belt" until the end of World War II, when a new generation of real-estate developers bulldozed acres of agricultural land to build suburbs. The precursor to the San Bernardino Freeway, the Ramona Expressway, was built in 1944, and further development of the freeway system facilitated the expansion of suburbs and human migration throughout the Inland Empire and Southern California.
The region experienced significant economic and population growth through most of the latter half of the 20th century. In the early 1990s, the loss of the region's military bases and reduction of nearby defense industries due to the end of the Cold War lead to a local economic downturn. The region as a whole had partially recovered from this downturn by the start of the 21st century through the development of warehousing, shipping, logistics and retail industries, primarily centered around Ontario. However, these industries have been heavily affected by the Great Recession.
Physical boundaries between Los Angeles and the Inland Empire from west to east are the San Jose Hills splitting the San Gabriel Valley from the Pomona Valley, leading to the urban populations centered in the San Bernardino Valley.  From the south to north, the Santa Ana Mountains physically divide Orange County from San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. The Santa Rosa Mountains, as well as the Southern California portion of the Sonoran Desert, physically divide Riverside County from San Diego County. Some definitions for the I.E. consist of the Chino Valley, Coachella Valley, Cucamonga Valley, Menifee Valley, Murrieta Valley, Perris Valley, San Jacinto Valley, Temecula Valley, Pomona Valley, and Victor Valley.
Elevations range from 11,499 ft (3,505 m) at the top of the Newport Beach and Huntington Beach. While temperatures are generally cool to cold in the mountains, it can get hot in the valleys. In the desert resort of Palm Springs, near Joshua Tree National Park, summer temperatures can reach well over 110 °F (43 °C).
Unlike most metropolitan areas that have grown up around a central city, the Inland Empire has no one main focus city. Major cities in the region include Riverside, San Bernardino, Rancho Cucamonga, and Ontario. Suburban sprawl spreads out to form a unified/built up connection with the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Further development is steadily, if not heavily, encroaching past the mountains into the outlying desert areas. The Inland Empire borders both Los Angeles and Orange counties. Freeways in Southern California are heavily used, but this comprehensive freeway system has made travel between the Inland Empire and these two counties generally easy; especially to and from Los Angeles County.
The Inland Empire has also been referred to as the 909, after one of the region's most used area codes. In 2004, because of growing demand for telephone numbers, most of Western Riverside County was granted a new area code, 951.
The region of Palm Springs, Palm Desert, and Indio, among others in the area, are located much further east in Riverside County (the distance between the city of San Bernardino and Palm Springs is approximately 45 miles). These cities are sometimes considered a sub-region of the Inland Empire that is called the Coachella Valley. This is to help differentiate them from the urbanized area among the cities of San Bernardino-Riverside.
Boundaries and definitions
There is no universally accepted definition for the boundaries of the Inland Empire region. Some sources such as the Los Angeles Times have referred to Riverside County and San Bernardino County as the Inland Empire, mirroring the Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario metropolitan area.
Some residents of certain areas within the three counties, such as the Coachella and Temecula valleys, consider themselves separate from the IE. The California Travel and Tourism Commission (CTTC), a not-for-profit, nongovernmental entity that promotes tourism in California, divides the state into several regions for its own purposes. The CTTC defines the Inland Empire as being bounded by Los Angeles County and Orange County on the west, San Diego County on the south, as far north as the Victor Valley area, and as far east as Idyllwild in the San Jacinto Mountains. The state of California's official website links to the CTTC's map with the description "Map of the Inland Empire region".
Other sources, including Kevin Starr, former state librarian of California, include eastern Los Angeles County cities in the Pomona Valley which are Claremont, Pomona, La Verne, San Dimas, and Diamond Bar within the definition of the Inland Empire. Other sources also include cities in Los Angeles County within the boundaries.
Inexpensive land prices (compared to Los Angeles and Orange Counties), a large supply of vacant land, and a transport network where many highways and railroads intersect have made the Inland Empire a major shipping hub. Some of the nation's largest manufacturing companies have chosen the Inland Empire for their distribution facilities including Toyota Motor Corporation's North American Parts and Logistics Distribution (NAPLD) center in Ontario and APL Logistics in Rancho Cucamonga. Whirlpool Corporation recently leased a 1,700,000-square-foot (160,000 m2) distribution center in Perris that is larger than 31 football fields and one of the biggest warehouses in the country. These centers operate as part of the system that transports finished goods and materials from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to destinations to the north and east such as Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Denver. More than 80 percent of the state's imported cargo is shipped through the Los Angeles/Inland Empire Corridor. However, with the global economic downturn, industrial vacancies have doubled from 6.2 percent in 2007 to 12.4 percent to 2008. In San Bernardino and Redlands, vacancies are as high as 22 percent.
Although the region's large industries have been affected by the Great Recession, the Inland Empire is projected to remain California's fastest-growing region for some time to come. The area is also projected to remain one of the least educated areas of the state with the lowest average in annual wages in the country. A 2006 study of salaries in 51 metropolitan areas of the country ranked the Inland Empire second to last, with an average annual wage of $36,924. However, inexpensive land prices and innovative institutional support networks have attracted some small businesses and technology startups into the area.
While urbanization continues to cut into agricultural lands, the Inland Empire still produces substantial crops. Although 10,000 acres (40 km2) of irrigated land was lost between 2002 and 2004, agriculture still brought in more than $1.6 billion in revenues to the two-county region in 2006.
Being a MSA, aggregate GDP figures are reported by the Bureau of Economic Analysis annually. The Inland Empire ranks 25th in the nation with a 2011 GDP was $109.8 billion, roughly a third of San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA MSA despite their close population numbers. Per capita GDP was $25,993.34 in 2011, nearly half among the nation's top 50 Gross Metropolitan Product. Due to housing crisis, the GDP fell from $114.8 billion in 2007, despite a heavy influx of residents.
The unemployment rate in the Inland Empire has been consistently over the national average since 2007. 10.4 percent of Inland residents were unemployed as of August 2013, compared to the national rate of 7.3 percent. Due to the high unemployment and housing foreclosure rates, a higher percentage of Inland residents rely on public assistance. According to the Press-Enterprise, "twelve percent of Riverside County and 17 percent of San Bernardino County residents used food stamps in January 2012," as compared to "11 percent of those living in Los Angeles County, 8 percent of San Diego County residents and 7 percent of Orange County residents."
Since the 1950s, the area has changed from a rural to a suburban environment. The region now comprises numerous cities known as bedroom communities that are suburban cities to Los Angeles. Affordable home ownership is the primary motivation behind the growth in these Inland Empire cities as homes in the region are generally less expensive than comparable homes in Los Angeles and Orange counties. The steady rise in population and the demand for housing has led to a dramatic increase in the building of single-family homes on lots of 1/4 acre (1,000 m²) or more, as opposed to the construction of high-density development such as multi-story apartment or condominium buildings. This low-density development has caused sprawl in the Inland Empire; a commute between Beaumont and Ontario is approximately 43 miles. Much of the vacant land is being developed. Land that was used for agriculture is now being sold by owners for conversion to shopping centers, industrial warehouses, etc. Due to the lack of the Inland Empire having just one central city, and the smaller geographical footprint that suburban cities tend to have, this continuous development has become seemingly unplanned suburban sprawl as local interest and zoning laws may quickly change from one city to the next city. The Inland Empire was declared the nation's worst example of sprawl according to a study by Smart Growth America in 2002.
Foreclosures have risen by 3,500 percent since 2006. In 2010, the area ranked fourth in the nation in the number of foreclosures, with one filing for every 133 households. The city of Perris initiated a program to paint the brown lawns of abandoned homes green as a way to cut down on the appearance of blight.
Retailing in the area has increased to try and keep abreast with the growing suburban population. The region is home to several large shopping malls, including the Promenade Shops at Dos Lagos and the Crossings in Corona, Ontario Mills in Ontario, Promenade Mall in Temecula, Moreno Valley Mall in Moreno Valley, Victoria Gardens Mall in Rancho Cucamonga and the Inland Center mall in San Bernardino. In fiscal year 2006, retail sales in San Bernardino County grew by 11.9 percent to $31.2 billion, while sales in Riverside County were up 11.3 percent to $29.6 billion.
|The Inland Empire is subject to smog conditions on a regular basis as seen here, looking south, from the north terminus of Haven Avenue in Rancho Cucamonga. Note how the street 'fades' into the smoggy haze and the Santa Ana Mountains are completely obscured.||The Inland Empire is also subject to Santa Ana Winds that lead to generally clear days, free of smog or the marine layer. Note how the street that 'faded' into the smoggy haze and the Santa Ana Mountains that were completely obscured in the image to the left are now visible.|
The result of this ongoing development has resulted in greater homeownership for the region. Although the region saw an uptick in jobs over the past decade, it is not a heavy employment center, and many residents commute to Los Angeles and Orange counties for their work. With a lack of substantial public transportation in the Greater Los Angeles Area, this has led to
- Inland Empire at DMOZ
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- . The baseline and meridian intersect at
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- Inland Empire Harmony Carousel Chorus
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San Bernardino County
|Big Bear Lake||1981||5,124||$42,512|
|Desert Hot Springs||1963||27,902||$36,397|
Ann Lerner, Albuquerque's film liaison, told the L.A. Times about the AMC cable TV series Breaking Bad producers wanted to film the series in California's Inland Empire but switched to New Mexico because of New Mexico's tax incentives.
Internet media and blogs are quickly gaining traction in the Inland Empire as newspaper readership has been falling. Some entertainment blogs include Things To Do Inland Empire, DiscoverIE.com, JooseBoxx.com, InlandDaily.com, and InlandEmpire.com. Politics has also received coverage on the web, with iepolitics.com providing an outlet for political bloggers.
While there are no large film production companies or studios based in the Inland Empire, on-location shoots accounted for a total economic impact of $65.2 million in the two-county region in 2006. From 1994 to 2005, filming accounted for over a billion dollars ($1,228,977,456) in total revenues spent in the area. Some famous films shot in the Inland Empire include Executive Decision, U Turn, Erin Brockovich, and The Fast and the Furious.
While the Inland Empire has television channels licensed to their cities, only PBS member station KVCR-TV broadcasts directly to the Inland Empire. The other channels broadcast to the greater Southern California market. The Inland Empire's source for most of its television is Los Angeles. The southern section of the Inland Empire may have San Diego television as their main source. In some areas just east of Yucaipa, primary television coverage is from the Palm Springs market.
Due to the various mountain ranges including San Bernardino, San Gabriel, and Idyllwild, it may be difficult to receive a single station throughout the entire Inland Empire area without interference.
|Format Stations||Public/College||Talk Radio|
|KOLA-FM 99.9 Classics||KVCR-FM 91.9 NPR||KCAA-AM 1050 NBC Radio|
|KFRG-FM 95.1 Country||KUCR-FM 88.3 UC Riverside||KTIE-AM 590 Conservative|
|KLYY-FM 97.5 Spanish|
|KCAL-FM 96.7 Rock||KUOR-FM 89.1 NPR||KMET-AM 1490 Conservative|
|KCXX-FM 103.9 Alt Rock||KSPC-FM 88.7 Claremont Colleges||KSPA-AM 1510 Business Talk|
|KGGI-FM 99.1 Hip-Hop/R&B|
|KLRD-FM 90.1 Christian Contemporary|
|KPRO-AM 1570 Religious, Variety, Sports|
|KMFE-FM 96.9 Community|
The Inland Empire is ranked 26th (June 2008) in the national radio market as a stand-alone market. When combined with the Greater Los Angeles Area, it is part of the second largest radio market.
- High Desert: Antelope Valley Press, Victorville Daily Press and the Barstow Desert Dispatch. Both Victorville and Barstow have a Sunday edition circulated across both areas called the Press-Dispatch.
- Palm Springs & Coachella Valley: The Desert Sun
- The city of Claremont has its own community newspaper known as the Claremont Courier.
There is also an Inland Empire edition of the Los Angeles Times. For the segments of the Inland Empire surrounding San Bernardino and Riverside cities, regional newspapers include:
- The InlandEmpirePress.com provides online only reporting for the Riverside County & San Bernardino Valley region.
- The San Bernardino County Sun, which serves primarily the San Bernardino Valley region.
- The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, which serves the southwestern San Bernardino County and eastern Los Angeles County cities of Claremont, La Verne, Pomona, San Dimas, Upland, Rancho Cucamonga, Ontario, Montclair, Chino and Chino Hills.
- The Riverside-based Press-Enterprise also has a few editions over the area.
The Inland Empire is served by four major local newspapers:
|Inland Empire 66ers||CaL||Baseball||San Manuel Stadium||1941||6|
|High Desert Mavericks||CaL||Baseball||Stater Bros. Stadium||1993||3|
|Lake Elsinore Storm||CaL||Baseball||Lake Elsinore Diamond||1994||2|
|Rancho Cucamonga Quakes||CaL||Baseball||LoanMart Field||1993||1|
|Palm Springs Power||SoCal CBA||Baseball||Palm Springs Stadium||2003||2|
|Ontario Reign||American Hockey League||Ice hockey||Citizens Business Bank Arena||2015||0|
|Los Angeles Temptation||LFL||Indoor football||Citizens Business Bank Arena||2004||3|
|Ontario Fury||PASL||Indoor soccer||Citizens Business Bank Arena||2013||0|
|Inland Empire Water Polo Club||USA Water Polo||Water Polo||Jurupa Valley High School||2010||0|
The Auto Club Speedway, located in Fontana, opened in 1997. It contains an oval, a road course, and a dragstrip for auto racing. The Speedway is located approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) from the former Ontario Motor Speedway site. The Riverside International Raceway, another defunct motorsport venue, was located about 7 miles (11 km) east of Riverside.
The Inland Empire is home to numerous minor league baseball, basketball teams, and one ice hockey team based in Ontario. The Inland Empire team with the most championships is the Inland Empire 66ers of San Bernardino, who won their most recent championship in 2013.
Orchestras in the IE include the Redlands Symphony, which performs at the University of Redlands, the Riverside County Philharmonic, which performs at the Riverside Municipal Auditorium, the San Bernardino Symphony, which performs at the California Theatre, and the Victor Valley Symphony, which performs at Victor Valley College. Theatrical Arts International is housed at the California Theatre as well. With the largest subscriber base in the Inland Empire, Theatrical Arts International presents the largest caliber tours available including such blockbusters as Cats, Hairspray, Mamma Mia, and Miss Saigon. There are many other large theater programs in the community. At Chaffey High School in Ontario, they have a very large theater program that puts on shows in the fall and in the spring on one of the largest High School stages in the Inland Empire. The Inland Empire Harmony Carousel Chorus provides music in Barbershop Quartet productions.
From the late 80s until the late 90s, many up-and-coming musical acts, such as Rage Against the Machine, Blink-182 and No Doubt cut their teeth playing venues in Riverside. However, these historic venues (Spanky's Cafe, and the De Anza Theatre) have since been closed and converted to other purposes. The Barn at UCR was closed as a music venue for 10 years but beginning in October 2008 KUCR Radio 88.3 FM, ASPB The Associated Student Program Board with funding from UCR Housing began having a free concert series once a week during the school quarter. Emerging music venues in the IE include the Showcase Theatre in Corona (recently closed), Red Planet Records in Riverside, the Vault in Redlands, the Buffalo Inn and The Wire in Upland, the Twins Club in Rancho Cucamonga, the Press Restaurant in Claremont, the Glass House in Pomona, Back To The Grind Coffee Shop in Riverside, Liam's Irish Pub in Colton, and CommonGround Soundstage in Riverside.
Frank Zappa performed in Upland on Foothill Boulevard during the early 1960s where he played shows on a makeshift stage for college crowds. Zappa also purchased Pal Recording Studio on Archibald Avenue in Rancho Cucamonga where the Surfaris had recorded the surf music classic "Wipe Out." He dubbed it Studio Z and began making recordings which eventually led to the founding of Zappa's group, The Mothers of Invention. Up until his death in December 2012, singer Ray Collins of the Mothers of Invention lived in the area. Zappa mentions the Inland Empire in the song "Billy the Mountain."
The Inland Empire sits adjacent to the San Bernardino Mountains. The mountains are popular for hiking or just having a relaxing drive. Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear are just some of the lakes located in the mountains. Lake Arrowhead becomes very popular in the summertime, while Big Bear becomes popular in the winter for skiing and snowboarding activities. Various locations in the Inland Empire provide venues for cultural performances and entertainment. The Victoria Gardens Cultural Center, which is owned and operated by the City of Rancho Cucamonga, opened in the Fall of 2006 providing theatre, concerts and family entertainment to the region. The San Manuel Amphitheater in San Bernardino's Devore neighborhood is the nation's largest outdoor amphitheater. San Bernardino's "Route 66 Rendezvous (the largest classical carshow in the US)," an annual street fair and classic car show, draws a half-million people from around the world. The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway in Palm Springs is a popular attraction, rising to more than 8500 feet.
In 2007, the region had an unemployment rate of 6.1%, while overall jobless claims in California were at 5.4% and 4.4% nationally. In 2008, unemployment in the area increased to 9.5%, at a time when the state average was 8.2% and the national average approximately 6.5%. Unemployment reached an all-time high of 15% in 2010, second in the nation only to Detroit among metropolitan areas with populations over 1 million.
While the Inland Empire led the state in job-growth with 275,000 new jobs between 1990 and 2000, most are in comparatively low-tech fields. San Bernardino and Riverside counties are primarily host to service and manufacturing- or warehousing-oriented industries. Food and administrative services employ the most people in the Inland Empire, while for the state of California, the top industries are in administrative services and professional, scientific and hi-tech-oriented fields. 79.8% of the IE's job growth from 1990 to 2003 was in service-sector jobs. Low-wage industries are abundant in the IE, and the area's high-tech and professional industries pay less than in other regions of California. As many as one-third of working adults commute out of the 27,000-square-mile (70,000 km2) region to find work, the highest proportion of any area in the country. Adding to gridlock, fewer than 5% of the IE's 1,249,224 working-age residents use public transportation to get to work each day. 14.5% carpool, while 79.7% typically drive alone to work in their cars.
Among students transferring from Inland community colleges to private schools in 2004–05, the most frequent choice was the University of Phoenix.
Of Inland Empire residents 25 years and over in 2004, 44.4 percent of Asians had bachelor’s or higher degrees, and nearly 70 percent had at least attended college. 21.3 percent of Blacks had a bachelor's degree or higher, and 65.2 percent had either a community degree or had attended college. 22.8 percent of Whites had a bachelor's degree or higher, and 60.8 percent had attended college. Of Hispanics, 6.9 percent had a bachelor's or higher degree, and 30.2 percent attended college.
There is a trend of lower educational attainment in the IE, which starts early. Only 37 percent of 3- and 4-year-olds in the region are enrolled in pre-school, with only one school in the region for every 343 children, as compared to 48 percent enrollment in San Diego County. Thirty-five percent of the IE's ninth graders do not graduate from high school, and only 37 percent of its college age residents enroll in a post-secondary education program of some sort. Only 24 percent of the IE's adult residents have attained a college degree or better. Twenty-five percent do not possess a high school diploma. According to past CSUSB President Al Karnig, "We have a very low college attendance rate that is scantly above half of what the average is in other states. We have only have about 20 percent college graduates in the Inland Empire while the average in other states is 38 percent." 21 inland area high schools rank in the top 100 in California for producing dropouts.
The region has also been noted as a center of methamphetamine production. The Riverside and San Bernardino county sheriffs' departments busted 635 meth labs in 2000; law enforcement has driven most of the meth production industry to Mexico since 2007, but many of the homes discovered to have been used as meth labs before 2006 have since been sold on the market before California law required rigorous decontamination, leading to a legacy of health hazards for unsuspecting renters and home-buyers in the area.
Latino gangs have been active in the region since the area's citrus days while a continual migration of African American gangs from LA has flowed into the area since the Watts Riots. The increased diversity in the region between 1990 and 2000 is also associated with a 20 percent increase in hate crime in the same period, mostly ascribed to increased gang activity. According to data from the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting program, taken together, Riverside and San Bernardino counties showed a total of 51,237 crimes reported to county police/sheriffs (but not to city or other agencies) in 2006; this combined total exceeded the totals for all other California counties – considered individually – except for Sacramento.
While the crime index in Riverside and Ontario tends slightly over the state average, San Bernardino has a crime index consistently near or over twice that of the national average. Reflecting nationwide trends, violent crime in the region overall declined or remained consistent in 2009, despite the recession. In the city of Riverside, 10 homicides occurred in 2005, down from 24 in 2003, its highest total since 2003. All but three cases resulted in arrests. In San Bernardino, by contrast, 58 killings occurred in 2005, but only a third of cases in San Bernardino led to arrests, due to a lack of witness cooperation in that city.
The Inland Empire has a Jewish community, and additionally a Jewish American community is in and around Sun City which was later incorporated as the City of Menifee. According to the United Jewish Citizens of the Desert, the Coachella Valley has an estimated 20,000 American Jews, one of California's largest Jewish communities, as a result of being a major retirement destination.
Mormons and Seventh-day Adventists have communities in the towns of Loma Linda and Redlands near San Bernardino. Mormons also have congregations in the High Desert region. Seventh-day Adventists operate Loma Linda University.
78 percent of Inland residents view themselves as Christians. 39 percent identify as Roman Catholic, 14 percent as Protestant, and 25 percent as some other type of Christian. (36 percent of total Inland Christians view themselves as "born again".) 1 percent of the population are Jewish, 6 percent belong to some other religion, and 14 percent profess no religion. 27 percent of Inland residents attend some form of religious service once a week, 14 percent attend more than once a week, 15 percent once a month, and 14 percent only attend services on major religious holidays.
Non-Hispanic Whites and non-Hispanic Blacks have the highest participation rates for nearly every type of political activity, while Latinos and Asian Americans lag significantly behind those groups in terms of volunteerism and organizational membership. However, the 2006 immigration protests have significantly boosted political participation among Latinos.
While the region as a whole had traditionally leaned more Republican than the rest of California, newer residents are less likely to identify with the Republican party than longer-term residents (36 percent to 42 percent), and the total number of residents identifying with the Democrats (34 percent) now slightly edges over the number identifying with the Republican party (33 percent). In fact, in the 2008 presidential election, Democratic candidate Barack Obama carried both Riverside and San Bernardino counties, becoming only the second Democrat to carry both counties since Lyndon Johnson in 1964. In 2012, Obama repeated this feat and again carried both counties.
A substantial majority of residents (76.6 percent), last comparatively surveyed in 2001, rated their respective counties as good places to live. Over 81 percent of Riverside County residents indicated that their county is a very good or fairly good place to live, while about 72 percent of residents in San Bernardino County felt the same way. Survey respondents cited "nice living area," "good climate," and "affordable housing" as the top positive factors in assessing their respective communities. Smog was by far the most important negative factor affecting respondents’ ratings in both counties, while traffic was the 2nd highest concern in Riverside County and crime the 2nd highest concern among San Bernardino County residents.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in 2006, 33.1 percent of people in the Greater San Bernardino Area were overweight, and 30.8 percent were obese. Forbes magazine ranks the area as the fourth fattest in the country.
The population of the Greater Los Angeles area (which includes the Inland Empire) is about 18 million people according to the 2010 United States Census, and is the second largest metropolitan region in the country. The Metropolitan Statistical Area population of the Inland Empire (Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area) onto itself is over 4.2 million people and is the 13th largest metropolitan area in the United States. According to the 2000 U.S. Census, it is the fastest growing area in the state. Between 1990 and 2000, Riverside and San Bernardino counties added 700,000 to their population totals, an increase of 26 percent. Between 2000 and 2010 Inland Empire's population expanded by 970,000 or 30 percent. According to census bureau's 2005–2007 estimates 61.8 percent of the population was White (40.4 percent White Non-Hispanic), 7.5 percent Black, 5.7 percent Asian and 25.0 percent of other or mixed race. 43.9 percent were Hispanic of any race. 21.9 percent of the population was foreign born.
The region is making some progress in developing dedicated bicycle commuter and recreation trails. The largest of these, the Santa Ana River bicycle path, currently connects Corona to Huntington Beach, and is eventually projected to stretch for 84 miles all the way to Redlands when completed in 20 years. A shorter trail exists along the former path of the Pacific Electric Railway from Claremont to Fontana.
|Airport||IATA code||ICAO code||County|
|Ontario International Airport||ONT||KONT||San Bernardino|
|Palm Springs International Airport||PSP||KPSP||Riverside|
Other airports in the Greater Los Angeles area include Los Angeles (LAX), Burbank (BUR), Long Beach (LGB), and Santa Ana (SNA) . There are also several general aviation airports across the Bi-County region.
Two commercial airports serve the Inland Empire. Los Angeles/Ontario Airport (ONT) is likely the most convenient for any traveler going to/from the Inland Empire, and it is also used by many in the Los Angeles area. If heading further east in Riverside or San Bernardino counties, the Palm Springs Airport (PSP) will be of convenience to those traveling near that city.
The metropolitan area's first rapid transit line, a new bus rapid transit system, launched in April 2014. The new line, dubbed San Bernardino Express (sbX), offers rapid transit service that functions just like light-rail with center running stations, designated sbX lanes and passengers purchasing tickets prior to boarding. Stations are approximately one mile apart with its northern terminus in Verdemont and southern terminus in Loma Linda's VA hospital, passing through downtown San Bernardino and the city's Hospitality Lane Business District. Metrolink offers rail service to Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego Counties.
Omnitrans is the largest bus agency in San Bernardino County, while the Riverside Transit Agency is the largest in Riverside County. Currently, some of Omnitrans' bus routes run 1–2 hours apart, and some routes stop service in the early evening or may not run on weekends.
The Inland Empire (unlike many major metropolitan areas) has minimal public transportation. When combined with the large physical size of the region, more people use automobiles for convenient travel. Less than five percent of the IE's 1,249,224 working-age residents use public transportation to get to work.
According to a 1999 report by the Surface Transportation Policy Project, the Inland Empire leads in fatal crashes caused by road rage. The theft of copper, brass and other metals from highway and road fixtures has also led to decreased public safety on IE roads and freeways. Gas siphoning has also been noted as a problem for vehicles left unattended in the region.
Traffic congestion problems on the roadways, as with elsewhere in Southern California, is the result of the demand for driving exceeding the available capacity, especially on area freeways. Many of the existing freeways were completed in the late 1970s, with the exception of the segment of the Foothill Freeway, State Route 210 (SR 210) between San Dimas and San Bernardino completed in July 2007. New freeways or highways "fix-ups" are being planned, such as the expansion of the length of the 215 freeway around Inland Center Mall. However, other problems exist, one being the jobs vs. housing imbalance. The Inland Empire population grew as a result of affordable housing, at least relative to the rest of Southern California. But most of the higher paying jobs are located in Los Angeles, San Diego and Orange counties. Thus, many workers must drive daily from the Inland Empire to their jobs in these counties -sometimes up to two hours each direction, and even longer if by public transportation. As the population increases, the problem is most certainly going to get worse. Forbes magazine recently ranked the area first in its list of America's most unhealthy commutes, beating out every other metropolitan area in the country, as Inland area drivers breathe the unhealthiest air and have the highest rate of fatal auto accidents per capita.
Water pollution has also been found in the Santa Ana River and Cajon wash, and pollutants from the March Air Reserve Base and Stringfellow Acid Pits have contaminated groundwater in parts of Riverside County. In 1997, perchlorate, a chemical used to produce explosives, was discovered to be seeping into the groundwater under Rialto in a plume that continues to grow. In 2007, the Rialto City council petitioned the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for Superfund status to clean up the origin site. The sites comprising March Air Reserve Base, Norton Air Force Base and the Stringfellow Acid Pits have already been classified as EPA Superfund toxic waste sites.
Air pollution, or suspended particulate matter locally generated from the increased number of automobiles in the area, from point sources such as factories, dust carried into the air by construction activity, and the contribution of similar pollutants from the Los Angeles area has regularly caused the Inland Empire to be at, or near, the bottom of many air quality ratings. In 2004, the EPA rated the San Bernardino-Riverside area as having the worst particulate air pollution in the United States, (although the San Joaquin Valley in central California had the worst overall air pollution). Air pollution in the Los Angeles region is still an issue, although improvements have been made over the years. But the problem is exacerbated in the Inland Empire, which is surrounded by mountains on the north and the east. Prevailing winds move bad air eastward from Los Angeles, but once the pollution reaches the Inland Empire it cannot be carried further east as it becomes trapped by the mountains surrounding the region.