County Profile

San Bernardino County is located in southeastern California, with Inyo and Tulare counties to the north, Kern and Los Angeles counties to the west, and Orange and Riverside counties to the south. The county is bordered on the east by the states of Nevada and Arizona. The county’s diverse geography and extensive natural resources, as well as its proximity to major economic and population centers, provide unique opportunities for varied industry sectors to thrive, including commerce, education, tourism and recreation.1 The following section profiles San Bernardino County’s geography, land use, population density, demographics, civic engagement, and community amenities.

county map Sources: San Bernardino County Land Use Services Department, 2007 General Plan (cms.sbcounty.gov/lus/Planning/GeneralPlan.aspx); California State Association of Counties (www.counties.org); Census Bureau, 2010 Census Tract Reference Maps (www.census.gov/geo/www/maps/CP_MapProducts.htm)

GEOGRAPHY AND LAND USE

San Bernardino County is the largest county in the contiguous United States:
  • The county covers over 20,000 square miles of land.
  • There are 24 cities in the county and multiple unincorporated areas.
  • 81% of the land is outside the governing control of the County Board of Supervisors or local jurisdictions; the majority of the non-jurisdiction land is owned and managed by federal agencies.2
Government Land
The county is commonly divided into three distinct areas, including the Valley Region (sometimes divided into East and West Valley), the Mountain Region, and the Desert Region:
  • The Valley Region contains the majority of the county’s incorporated areas and is the most populous region.
  • The Mountain Region is primarily comprised of public lands owned and managed by federal and state agencies.
  • The Desert Region is the largest region (approximately 93% of the county’s land area) and includes parts of the Mojave Desert.2
San Bernardino County is mostly undeveloped:
  • More than three-quarters (80%) of San Bernardino County is vacant land.
  • 15% of the land is used for military purposes.
  • Residential housing comprises 2.3% of the land area.
  • Industrial uses make up 0.8% of the county’s land use, followed by utilities (0.5%), agriculture (0.5%), transportation (0.4%), and parks (0.2%).
  • Commercial uses, schools, offices, and government buildings each make up 0.1% or less of county land.3
Source: San Bernardino Associated Governments, April 2014
Cities, Towns and Communities
Valley Region
Bloomington*
Chino
Chino Hills
Colton
Fontana
Grand Terrace Highland
Loma Linda Mentone*
Montclair
Muscoy*
Ontario
Rancho Cucamonga
Redlands
Rialto
San Antonio Heights*
San Bernardino Upland
Yucaipa
Mountain Region
Angelus Oaks*
Big Bear City*
Big Bear Lake
Crestline*
Lake Arrowhead*
Lytle Creek*
Oak Glen*
Running Springs*
Wrightwood*
Desert Region
Adelanto Apple
Valley Baker*
Barstow
Big River*
Bluewater*
Fort Irwin*
Hesperia
Homestead Valley*
Joshua Tree*
Lenwood*
Lucerne Valley*
Morongo Valley*
Mountain View Acres*
Needles
Newberry Springs*
Oak Hills*
Phelan*
Piñon Hills*
Searles Valley*
Silver Lake*
Spring Valley Lake*
Twentynine Palms
Victorville
Yermo*
Yucca Valley
*Unincorporated
Population Density for San Bernardino County and Peer and Neighboring Counties, 2014
County (Major City)Persons/sq.mi
San Bernardino105
Clark (Las Vegas)262
Riverside323
Maricopa (Phoenix)444
San Diego777
Miami-Dade (Miami)1,368
Los Angeles2,491
San Bernardino Valley Region2,997
Orange (Santa Ana)3,985

Note: For San Bernardino Valley, land area is from 2007 and population data is from 2013. The remaining geographies reflect land area data from 2000 and population data from 2014.

Sources: Analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau (Census 2000, 2013 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, and 2014 Population Estimates Program) and the San Bernardino County Land Use Department, 2007 General Plan

POPULATION

Given its vast land area, the county’s overall population density is low, but the Valley Region’s density is high:
  • San Bernardino County’s population density is estimated at 105 people per square mile, which is lower than the four southern California counties compared (Riverside, San Diego, Orange, and Los Angeles counties).4
  • It is also lower than peer regions of Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Miami.
  • Within San Bernardino County, the Valley Region is the most densely populated area, with 73% of the population residing in that region, but accounting for only 2.5% of the county’s land area.5
  • The estimated population density of the Valley Region is approximately 2,997 people per square mile, which is similar to neighboring Los Angeles and Orange counties.
San Bernardino County has the fifth largest population in California:
  • In July 2014, San Bernardino County’s population was estimated at over two million (2,091,618).6
  • San Bernardino County is more populous than all counties in California except Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange and Riverside.
  • San Bernardino County is the twelfth most populous county in the nation, with more residents than 15 of the country’s states, including Idaho, West Virginia, and New Mexico.7
Since 2000, San Bernardino County’s population has grown by approximately 22%:8
  • San Bernardino County’s population is expected to reach about 2.66 million by 2035.
  • This is equivalent to a growth rate of 27% between 2014 and 2035, which is toward the top of the range among other southern California counties, with Riverside County projected to grow the fastest at 33% and Orange County the slowest at 9%.9
San Bernardino County is racially and ethnically diverse:
  • Slightly over half (51%) of San Bernardino County residents are Latino, who may be of any race.
  • Among the remaining non-Latino residents, 31% are White, 8% are Black or African American, 7% are Asian or Pacific Islander, and 2% report two or more races. Less than one percent of residents are American Indian/Alaska Native or some other race (0.4%).10
Population by Race/Ethnicity
San Bernardino County, 2005-2013 Note: “All Other” includes American Indian/Alaska Native and any other single race. Latino includes any race. All race calculations are non-Latino. Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2005-2013 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates
Native Americans in San Bernardino County

An estimated 14,518 San Bernardino County residents are Native American alone and no other race. Of this total, 9,272 identify as non-Latino and 5,246 identify as Latino. Additionally, many residents identify as two races: Native American and white (18,729) or Native American and black (1,852). Federally recognized tribes and/or reservations within the county include: the Colorado River Indian Reservation (also in Riverside County, and including Mohave, Chemehuevi, Hopi and Navajo tribes), Chemehuevi Indian Reservation, the Fort Mojave Indian Reservation, and the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians.

Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, 2013 American Community Survey, 1-Year Estimate; California Tribal Government Affairs (www.tribalgovtaffairs.ca.gov); Colorado River Indian Tribes (www.crit-nsn.gov)
Compared to United States averages, San Bernardino County residents are more likely to have been born outside of the United States, speak a language other than English at home, have a larger household size, and have a child living in the household:
  • In 2013, 21% of people living in San Bernardino County were born outside of the United States, compared to the national average of 13%.
  • Among residents over the age of five years, 41% speak a language other than English at home (compared to 21% nationwide).
  • Among these, 82% speak Spanish and 18% speak 38% some other language.
  • The average household size in San Bernardino County is 3.4 people, compared to the national average of 2.7.
  • Children under age 18 are present in 43% of households in San Bernardino County, compared to 32% nationwide.
  • Approximately one-third (35%) of San Bernardino County families with children under 18 years of age are led by a single parent, which is similar to the national rate of 33%.11
San Bernardino County’s population is relatively young:
  • In 2013, the county’s median age was 32, compared to 38 nationwide.
  • As of 2013, 28% of the population was under age 18, while 10% were 65 years or older.
  • Between 2009 and 2013, the county’s age mix shifted, with more residents over 18 and fewer children under 18.12
Population as of
July 1, 2014
Numeric Change
Since 2013
Percent Change
Since 2013
Projected
Population in 2035
2014-2035 Projected
Numeric Change
2014-2035 Projected
Percent Change
2,091,618 17,538 0.8% 2,658,556 566,938 27%
Source: California Department of Finance, Demographic Research Unit, Tables E-2 and P-1
Population by Age
San Bernardino County, 2009 and 2013
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2008 and 2012 American Community Survey (http://factfinder2.census.gov/)

CIVIC ENGAGEMENT

San Bernardino County Voter Turnout, 2006-2014
Source: California Secretary of State (www.sos.ca.gov)
Voter Participation
Voter turnout dipped in 2014 as is typical in non-presidential election years:
  • Only 23% of San Bernardino County residents who are eligible to vote chose to do so in 2014.
  • In comparison, 37% of eligible voters nationwide and 31% of eligible voters statewide went to the polls in 2014.
  • Among San Bernardino County residents registered to vote, 34% voted in 2014.
  • These rates of voter turnout are the lowest in the past 10 years.
  • Voting by mail has grown substantially since the 2006 election, with 60% of voters casting their ballots by mail in 2014, compared to 39% in 2006.13

COMMUNITY AMENITIES

Airports
At the Ontario International Airport, freight and passenger traffic both increased in 2014:
  • Seven passenger airlines and six freight carriers operate out of Ontario International Airport.
  • The amount of freight transported at Ontario International increased 3% in 2014 to 474,346 tons. This represents the fifth con- secutive year of increases in freight traffic, which is up 21% since 2009.
  • Passenger traffic increased by 4% in 2014, marking the first increase in passenger traffic in seven years.
  • At 4.1 million passengers in 2014, passenger traffic has declined 43% since the peak in 2005 of over 7.2 million passengers.14
Additional airport resources serve area residents:
  • The San Bernardino International Airport has over 28,000 annual flight operations comprised mainly of charter, corporate, and general aviation users.15
  • Six County-owned airports are located strategically throughout the county (Apple Valley Airport, Baker Airport, Barstow-Daggett Airport, Chino Airport, Needles Airport, and Twentynine Palms Airport).16

Note: Freight totals include U.S. mail.

Source: Los Angeles World Airports (www.lawa.org)
Hospitals and Medical Facilities
There are 26 hospitals serving residents and visitors to San Bernardino County:17
  • Two are trauma centers, including Loma Linda University Medical Center (Level I trauma center) and Arrowhead Regional Medical Center (Level II trauma center).*
  • The Arrowhead Regional Medical Center (ARMC) operates three community Family Health Centers (FHCs) for primary care, and the only Burn Center serving San Bernardino, Riverside, Inyo and Mono counties.
  • With initial funding support from First 5 San Bernardino for hospitals to become Baby-Friendly certified, San Bernardino County is now home to 11 Baby-Friendly hospitals. Baby-Friendly hospitals promote couplet care (keeping parents and infants together at all times from birth through discharge to promote bonding) and breastfeeding over formula feeding.18
* Level I Trauma Centers provide the highest level of surgical care to trauma patients, and have formal research and education programs related to trauma care. Level II Centers participate in an inclusive system of trauma care, working collaboratively with Level I Centers to provide trauma care and supplement the clinical expertise of a Level I institution.
Universities, Colleges, and Career Training
San Bernardino County offers many opportunities for college and career training, serving the educational needs of the residents and developing a strong workforce:
  • Within San Bernardino County, major universities and colleges include University of Redlands, California State University/San Bernardino, Loma Linda University, and University of La Verne College of Law.
  • Community Colleges in the county include Barstow, Chaffey, Copper Mountain, Crafton Hills, Palo Verde Community College/Needles Campus, San Bernardino Valley, and Victor Valley.
  • In addition, there are numerous private career and technical educational institutions that offer certificates and degrees.
Recreational Facilities
There are more than 100 diverse outdoor and indoor recreational opportunities, including regional and local parks, museums, and sports venues:
  • There are 2.5 million acres of recreational land in San Bernardino County, and six acres of parkland per 1,000 residents – twice the California rate.19
  • Three out of every four residents live within one mile of a local park and within five miles of a regional, state or national park.20
  • The Mojave National Preserve along with portions of Joshua Tree National Park and Death Valley National Park lie in San Bernardino County.
  • San Bernardino National Forest offers year-round outdoor opportunities with over 679,000 acres of open space spanning San Bernardino and Riverside counties. A portion of Angeles National Forest also lies within the county boundaries.21
  • Multiple arts venues include performing arts and concert facilities, along with major museums, such as Cal State San Bernardino Art Museum, the San Bernardino County Museum, and the Planes of Fame Air Museum.
  • San Bernardino County also has three professional minor league baseball teams: the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, the Inland Empire 66ers, and the High Desert Mavericks.
  • The Auto Club Speedway in Fontana has world-class NASCAR and Indy car races, and the Glen Helen Raceway in Devore has international motor cross racing.

San Bernardino County Regional Parks

Regional Park Acres
Big Morongo Canyon Reserve 177
Calico Ghost Town 480
Cucamonga-Guasti 112
Glen Helen 1,340
Lake Gregory 150
Moabi 1,027
Mojave Narrows 840
Mojave River Forks 1,100
Prado 2,280
Santa Ana River Trail 17*
Yucaipa Regional Park 1,161
Total 8,684
** Not included in total acreage.

ENDNOTES

  1. County of San Bernardino, Economic Development Agency
  2. San Bernardino County Land Use Department, 2007 General Plan (www.sbcounty.gov)
  3. San Bernardino Associated Governments
  4. U.S. Census Bureau (Census 2000, 2013 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, and 2014 Population Estimates Program) and the San Bernardino County Land Use Department, 2007 General Plan
  5. San Bernardino County Land Use Department, 2007 General Plan (www.sbcounty.gov); U.S. Census Bureau, 2013 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates (factfinder2.census.gov). Valley Region includes Ontario Census County Division (CCD), San Bernardino CCD, and Yucaipa CCD.
  6. California Department of Finance, Demographic Research Unit, Tables E-2
  7. U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates Program, 2014 Estimates by County (www.census.gov/popest)
  8. California Department of Finance, Demographic Research Unit, Table E-2
  9. California Department of Finance, Demographic Research Unit, Table E-2 (2014) and Table P-1 (2035)
  10. U.S. Census Bureau, 2013 American Community Survey, 1-Year Estimates
  11. U.S. Census Bureau, 2013 American Community Survey, 1-Year Estimates
  12. U.S. Census Bureau, 2009 and 2013 American Community Survey, 1-Year Estimates
  13. California Secretary of State (www.sos.ca.gov); United States Election Project (www.electproject.org)
  14. Los Angeles World Airports (www.lawa.org)
  15. San Bernardino International Airport (www.sbdairport.com)
  16. San Bernardino County Department of Airports (www.sbcounty.gov/Airports)
  17. State of California, Office of Statewide Planning and Development OSHPD (gis.oshpd.ca.gov/atlas/places/list-of-hospitals/county/san-bernardino)
  18. Baby-Friendly USA (www.babyfriendlyusa.org/find-facilities)
  19. Creating Countywide Vision, Vision Elements, 2010
  20. Creating Countywide Vision, Vision Elements, 2010
  21. U.S. National Forest Service (www.fs.usda.gov/sbnf and www.fs.usda.gov/angeles)