October 2, 2023
About the Inland Empire

The Inland Empire, also known as "The IE," refers to the region in Southern California that comprises the counties of Riverside and San Bernardino.

Los Angeles County and Orange County border the Inland Empire to the West; Inyo and Kern to the North, San Diego and Imperial to the South and the states of Arizona and Nevada to the East.

The Inland Empire includes the oldest cities in the region: Ontario and the county seats of San Bernardino, and Riverside. These cities were established at about the end of the 19th century and were major centers of agriculture including citrus, dairy, and wine-making. The "Inland Empire" of Southern California, previously referred to as the Orange Empire for the area's historical orange groves and industry, was coined in the 1950's in order to make a distinction between this area and the large, coastal regions, especially Los Angeles.

The Inland Empire includes 52 cities, including the popular desert resort of Palm Springs.

The Inland Empire is described as a Metropolitan Statistical Area by the U.S. Census Bureau, notated as Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA. With 4.5 million people, is not only the second largest region in California, but also it is the 14th largest metropolitan area in the United States and 79th largest metropolitan area in the world. San Bernardino County has the distinction to be the largest county in the United States.

The Inland Empire offers a strategic West Coast location, vast amounts of available land for future growth, a highly-skilled and educated work force, a sophisticated transportation infrastructure, and access to 27 colleges and universities (including seven research institutions). The area features a changing economic landscape with emerging technological productivity, and employs an excess of one million people. The Inland Empire is also one of America 's most unique regions and micro-climates, featuring pristine mountains, lakes, deserts, and ample recreation and sporting activities, all within an hour's drive to the shores of the Pacific Ocean.

The Inland Empire is a center for those who love the outdoors. Snow, water and jet skiers use Lake Arrowhead, Big Bear Lake or Lake Elsinore. Hikers enjoy the San Gorgonio Wilderness with trails reaching 11,000 feet or the deserts of the Mohave National Preserve. Rock climbers are near famed Joshua Tree National Park. Surfers and divers are close to the Pacific Ocean. Those who love 4-wheeling are near hills and desert regions set aside for their use. Perris, Hemet and Lake Elsinore are national centers for sky diving and soaring. Auto racing fans have immediate access to the famed California Speedway with its major NASCAR and Indy-car races. Golfers will find an extraordinary number of courses throughout the region including the beautiful resort complexes of the Palm Springs area.

The climate has long been a major reason for human occupation in the San Bernardino Valley. Its early Native American inhabitants followed the seasons up and down the elevations to suit their comfort and food-gathering habits. Later, the climate attracted those with health problems, and eventually the citrus industry made Redlands and Riverside famous worldwide.

Between the Los Angeles area and the Inland Empire there was limited development until about the 1970s. However, since then rapidly growing population and, therefore, residential, commercial, and industrial development, has led to cities being established in this rural, 'intermediate' area.

Since the 1980s, the area has evolved from a rural to a suburban environment. In addition to existing cities such as Riverside and San Bernardino, the region is now comprised of numerous suburban cities known as bedroom communities. Affordable home ownership is the primary motivation behind the growth in these communities as homes in the Inland Empire are generally less expensive than comparable homes in Orange and Los Angeles Counties, however, still generally more expensive than the rest of the nation.

Commercial development has increased at a similar pace to keep abreast with, and serve, the rapidly growing population of the Inland Empire. Like most suburban areas, the region is home to several large upscale shopping malls. Inexpensive land prices (compared to Los Angeles and Orange Counties), a large supply of vacant land, and a transportation network where many highways and railroads intersect have also made it a major industrial center. Some of the nation's largest manufacturing and shipping 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.

The result of this ongoing development has resulted in greater employment opportunities, increased affluence of the populace, and homeownership.

Today, the Inland Empire's economy is one of the largest and fastest-growing in the nation.

Real-Time Traffic
Habitat for Humanity
United Way of the Inland Valleys
Pink Ribbon Thrift
Veterans Resource Center
IE LTSS Coalition