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Living In the Inland Empire

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From Wineries to Rodeos, Arid Deserts to Mountains and Lakes—Find What You’re Looking for in the Inland Empire

Thinking about moving to Inland Empire? We’ve found all the information you need to help you decide which city and neighborhood in Inland Empire best fits your lifestyle. Including the cost of living in the Inland Empire area, average rental costs and more.

Situated south east of Los Angeles, the Inland Empire Metro, or I.E., spans several cities: Riverside, Rancho Cucamonga, Temecula, Ontario and Fontana. It might surprise you to find that residents in I.E. might come across as a “bit more country” than their LA neighbors. Between vast groves of citrus trees, acres of fruit farms and the occasional horseback riding cowboy—it’s easy o forget that you’re still in Southern California! And, if you’re not looking to put down roots in a rural area, San Bernardino or Riverside could appeal more to your city-living style.

Population – 4 million
Average Sunny Days – 277
Average Temperature January Low is 40 degrees – July High is 92 degrees

What’s the Cost of Living in Inland Empire?

One of the biggest perks of moving to the Inland Empire is that it’s affordable. Everything from average rent prices to groceries is much cheaper here than in LA. In fact, many people who live in this metro commute daily to work in Los Angeles. Even when factoring the additional costs of gas and time spent in traffic, residents feel like they still come out saving. The I.E proves to be one of the best places to enjoy all perks of SoCal living without the ridiculous prices. Residents can enjoy great weather, various activities and reasonably priced housing all at the same time.

Living in the Inland Empire Metro Area

The Inland Empire’s landscape features incredible mountains and breathtaking lakes, to vast farmland and the calming countryside. Spend an afternoon sipping wine at a vineyard in Temecula or hiking through the San Bernardino National Forest. Or the weekend camping and fishing around Big Bear Lake or Lake Arrowhead. I.E. also has a thriving music scene that attracts big name artists to venues like the Glass House in Pomona and the San Manuel Amphitheater in San Bernardino.

Inland Empire Metro Culture and Demographics

The region proudly celebrates Latino culture in year round events. Residents even say that you can find the “best Mexican food outside of Mexico” here. Farming is a major industry also and they are content with the “cowboy way “as part of their culture. The people who live here have a true “work hard, play hard” mentality, and feel a strong connection to food and family. Outside of urban centers, you’ll find close-knit, family-friendly communities. In fact, family households make up 75% of the total population.

Jobs & Employment in the Inland Empire Metro Area

Those moving to the Inland Empire will find comfort in the fact that it’s one of the fastest growing regions in California, proven to be economically resilient. The area suffered major financial devastation following the 2008 housing market crash and economic recession. Unemployment rates soared above 14% between 2009 and 2012. But in 2016, both the economy and employment in the Inland Empire is trending in the right direction. Recently I.E.’s industry profile expanded to include transportation and fulfillment warehouses, on top of construction, logistics and farming. And, with the craft beer boom, dozens of breweries are opening their doors in the Inland Empire. Just another reason why the job market is projecting positive growth from 2016-2026.

Professional Sports Teams and Universities in the Inland Empire Metro Area

Cal Poly, California State University – San Bernardino, University of California – Riverside, University of La Verne and University of Phoenix are all located throughout the I.E. region. And, a handful of minor league baseball teams call the Inland Empire home including: the Inland Empire 66ers, Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, Palm Springs Power, Lake Elsinore Storm and High Desert Mavericks. And even though you technically live in the desert, you can even watch American Hockey League’s Ontario Reign. Professional auto racing is also a popular spectator sport here—the Auto Club Speedway and Riverside International Raceway draw NASCAR fans from across the country

Things to See and Do in the Inland Empire Metro Area

The I.E has a geographic advantage and a wide range of attractions being located in Southern California. It’s the place where music finds its stage. Coachella, one of the largest outdoor music festivals in the world attracts hundreds of thousands of music lovers two weekends a year every April. And the San Manuel Amphitheater (big-name country stars perform at this venue), rocks out all-year round in San Bernardino. Big Bear Lake is widely popular and is also located within the region. It’s known as Southern California’s premiere four-season resort where Californians retreat to winter cabin hibernation, fish in the summer or camp in the forests in the fall.

Inland Empire is Very Diverse

Riverside County and San Bernardino County to the north form this metro area. Like many such metro areas in the Southwest, it extends far into uninhabited desert areas, in this case east through the Mojave Desert to the Nevada/Arizona border. Larger than nine U.S. states, it is often referred to as the Inland Empire. Cities in the western portion, including Riverside, San Bernardino, Ontario, and a patchwork of other communities, are developed suburbs of the Los Angeles area with a rapidly growing and increasingly self-sufficient economy.

Suburbs along the I-10 corridor, including Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, Fontana and Colton tend to be more commercial, while others off the main roads and against the area’s many mountain ranges, like Loma Linda, Chino Hills and many parts of Riverside are more residential. Ontario is also the site of one of the LA area’s best airports with considerable discount air service. Old mansions, public buildings, and packing sheds serve as evidence of the orange-growing industry that once dominated the area, but these have been long since surrounded by housing developments, industrial parks, and commercial/retail centers. Farther east through a mountain gap lie the resort communities of Palm Springs and Palm Desert.

Today the main economic activities include a host of diversified light manufacturing, international trade and offices of overseas companies. Although rising rapidly, costs of living and housing remain relatively affordable for comparable areas in Los Angeles and Southern California. The area is now facing many of the same issues confronting Los Angeles as a whole- overcrowding, sprawl, poor air quality, and long freeway commutes. Bottom line: this area offers many Southern California advantages while bringing the negatives in somewhat smaller doses.

The area is semiarid to arid with dry valleys surrounded by desert mountain ranges. Most of the valley floor to the west is developed. Moving east, coastal grasses and brush give way to desert foliage, including brush, creosote bush, and cactus. The climate varies by altitude and distance from the Pacific Ocean. Summers are warm in the western portion of the counties to extremely hot and dry eastward. Evenings, consistent with the desert climate and with some marine cooling, are comfortable. Winters are mild and mostly dry, but most annual precipitation, including rainy spells, occurs during this season. There are a few days each winter with below-freezing temperatures, but many winters are frost-free. Snow is rare but can occur.

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