The Inland Empire

The Inland Empire (locally known as the I.E.) is a region in Southern California; an urban and metropolitan area centered around the cities of Riverside and San Bernardino. The Inland Empire is located east of Los Angeles County.

The Inland Empire is sometimes considered co-extensive with the federally-defined Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario metropolitan area, which covers more than 27,000 square miles (70,000 km2) and is part of the Greater Los Angeles area. Home to over 4 million people, the metropolitan area consists of Riverside County and San Bernardino County, is the 13th most populous metropolitan area in the United States, and the third largest in the State of California.

At the end of the 19th century, the region 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, commercial, and industrial development.

Inland Empire in California Map
What You Should Know About the Inland Empire
Southern California’s Inland Empire (IE), comprised of San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, is one of the fastest-growing population centers in the United States, located about 40 miles east of Los Angeles.  The IE is seen as accessible and affordable with a young, diverse, and growing population.  We are a region of opportunity, natural beauty and a favorable quality of life, with an expanding economic base.  Our population is projected to reach 7 million in the next thirty years. The IE is over 27,000 square miles with nearly five million residents.  San Bernardino County is the largest geographic county in the U.S.  We are proud of our many strengths and achievements:
  • Ontario International Airport is the fastest-growing airport in the U.S., and the No. 1 airport for outgoing cargo.
  • Our San Bernardino County Transportation Authority will introduce North America’s first zero-emission, hydrogen-powered train as part of the Redlands passenger rail line in 2024.
  • California State University, San Bernardino, has established one of the top two cyber security programs in the U.S.
  • The California Air Resources Board is building a state-of-the-art vehicle emissions testing and research facility at the University of California, Riverside.
  • Loma Linda University, a global leader in healthcare, will open its $1 billion expansion in 2021.
  • From 2000-2015, 6,061 patents were issued to entities in the IE, more than one per day.
  • The I.E. is home to more than 25 colleges and universities, the second largest high school district in the State at Chaffey Joint Union, and some of the most innovative career pathway programs.
  • The IE is headquarters for corporations of national significance grown by San Bernardino County native entrepreneurs:
    • Esri, the international supplier of geographic information system software with 49 offices worldwide and employees from 73 countries.
    • Garner Holt Productions, the world’s largest manufacturer of animatronic figures for entertainment, military training, and prosthetics, with installations in 32 countries.
    • Stater Bros. Markets, a privately held supermarket chain operating 169 markets in California. Its IE distribution center is the largest under-one-roof facility in America.
While we have much to be proud of, the IE also faces challenges:
  • Only 20% of adults in the IE have a four-year college degree or higher, versus 32% for California and 30% for the nation.
  • San Bernardino County ranks 50 out of 57 California counties for clinical care, which includes ratios of population-to-care providers, preventive screening practices, and insurance coverage.
  • In San Bernardino County, 18.2% of the population lives below the poverty line, primarily females, a number that is higher than the national average of 13.1%.
  • About 41% of IE households have a language other than English spoken in the home.
  • The IE lags significantly behind, receiving only $25.55 per capita philanthropic investment, compared to $262.99 per capita average investment in California.
The IE can embody a new California Dream – one where the opportunity for a better life is very much within reach.  That is why more than 120 people a day are moving to the IE.  It is a place where poverty levels are falling; income levels are rising; education is improving; and the communities are becoming increasingly diverse. Inland Action works with State and federal leaders to provide support that will help California’s most robustly growing population center fulfill its extraordinary promise and potential.