New figures released last week by California Department of Finance indicate that both San Bernardino and Riverside counties each passed the 2 million mark in population in 2006, making the two counties the 4th and 5th most-populous counties respectively in California. It also signals Inland Southern California has reached the 4 million mark in overall population, which places the region between San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont and Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale in national population rankings.
Although growth rates in the state as a whole have slowed recently (only 1.25% last year), the interior sections of the state — and in particular Inland Southern California — are indeed bucking the trend.
Overall, Riverside County was the only county in the state to rank in the top 5 in 3 demographic criteria — overall size (5), numeric growth (1), and percentage growth (2).
Percentage wise, Riverside’s growth rate of 4.14% between July 2005-06 was second only to the 4.42% of tiny Yuba County (total pop. 71,938 — less than the 2006 numeric gain in Riverside County alone). San Bernardino County’s growth rate of 2.13% was good for 14th, joining Riverside as the only counties in excess of 1 million residents in the top 15 (of 58 counties) in growth rates.
Numerically speaking, Riverside led all counties in California with an additional 79k residents. San Bernardino was third with 41k additional residents. Together, the increase of 121k for the 2 counties — a.k.a. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario MSA — comprised 26% of the total numeric increase (462k) statewide.
Since 2000, Riverside County has added 446k new residents while San Bernardino County has added 294k — a total of nearly 750k, or nearly 25% of California’s total population growth (3.3m) since the 2000 Census. As such, the region is on track to add at least 1 million residents between 2000-2009 — or about the population of metropolitan Buffalo, NY.
The large increase in population has resulted in a commercial boom as well. Long an area of strong industrial/warehousing growth, the region has seen a recent surge in both retail and office space as the markets scramble to catch up with the rooftops:
Growth has been a theme for industrial, office and retail construction in Riverside and San Bernardino counties this year, and more of the same is to be expected in 2007, according to a new review and forecast by Grubb & Ellis Co.
Vacancy rates should be at record lows in the Inland region, the report says, and more square footage is under construction than ever before…
…Esmael Adibi, chief economist for Chapman University, said the Inland commercial real estate market has been excellent. There wasn’t as much office construction as there should have been over the past decade, he said, and therefore growth over the last couple of years has been building up toward demand.
Since 2004, two major retail developments have opened (Victoria Gardens, Dos Lagos), one has been rebuilt (Riverside Plaza), one is currently undergoing a major expansion (Galleria at Tyler) and at least 3 others (Montclair Plaza, Temecula Promenade and Inland Center) are planning expansions. Likewise, the area immediately surrounding the Ontario Mills continues to be a draw for new retail.
In particular, Dain Fedora of Grubb & Ellis’, points out the pent-up demand for high-end retail in the city of Riverside:
Riverside, he said, is likely to become a nexus for new high-end retail, because it boasts 90,000 households with incomes of at least $79,000.
Thus, we give a hearty welcome to the newcomers — residents, retail and employers alike (and those yet to arrive).
- Riverside Press-Enterprise – 4 million can’t be wrong
- Ontario Daily Bulletin – Inland Empire populations boom
- RaincrossSquare.com – Inland growth driving SoCal region (Dec. 2006)
- RaincrossSquare.com – Want the NFL back in LA? Think Inland. (Nov. 2006)
- RaincrossSquare.com – ‘A Sleeping Giant’ – part deux (Feb. 2006)
- 3.8 million and counting (April 2005)
|County||July 2000||July 2001||July 2002||July 2003||July 2004||July 2005||July 2006||Gain|
Source: California Department of Finance (Dec. 2006)
Sources: California Department of Finance, The Press-Enterprise, Daily Bulletin