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San Bernardino County

San Bernardino County, California
County of San Bernardino

Downtown San Bernardino, California.


Location in the state of California
Country  United States of America
State  California
Metropolitan area Inland Empire
Incorporated 1853
Named for City of San Bernardino[1][2][3]
County seat San Bernardino
Largest city San Bernardino
 • Total 20,105 sq mi (52,070 km2)
 • Land 20,052 sq mi (51,930 km2)
 • Water 53 sq mi (140 km2)
Population (2010 Census) 2,035,210
 • Density 85/sq mi (33/km2)
Time zone Pacific Standard Time (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) Pacific Daylight Time (UTC-7)

San Bernardino County, officially the County of San Bernardino, is a county located in the southern portion of the U.S. state of California. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the population was 2,035,210, up from 1,709,434 in the 2000 census. With an area of 20,105 square miles, San Bernardino County is the largest county in the United States by area. It is larger than each of the nine smallest states, larger than the four smallest states combined, and larger than 71 different sovereign nations.

Located in southeast California, the thinly populated deserts and mountains of this vast county stretch from where the bulk of the county population resides in two Census County Divisions, some 1,422,745 people as of the 2010 Census, covering the 450 square miles (1,166 km2) south of the San Bernardino Mountains in San Bernardino Valley, to the Nevada border and the Colorado River.

The county seat is San Bernardino. The county is considered part of the Inland Empire region.


Father Francisco Dumetz named San Bernardino on May 20, 1810, feast day of St. Bernardino of Siena.

San Bernardino County was formed in 1853 from parts of Los Angeles County. Parts of the county's territory were given to Riverside County in 1893.

The Franciscans gave the name San Bernardino to the snowcapped peak in Southern California, in honor of the saint and it is from him that the county derives its name.[3]


Major Employers[4]

Name of Employer Location Number of Employees
County of Riverside Riverside 18291
Stater Bros. Markets San Bernardino 18000
Arrowhead Regional Medical Center Colton 18000
County of San Bernardino San Bernardino 17395
National Training Center Fort Irwin 13805
U.S. Marine Corps Air Twentynine Palms 12486
Abbott Vascular Temecula 12000
March Air Reserve Base Moreno Valley 8750
San Bernardino City Unified School District San Bernardino 8574
Ontario International Airport Ontario 7510
University of California Riverside 6657
Claremont Colleges Claremont 6500
University of California Riverside 6294
Kaiser Permanente Fontana 5682
Riverside Unified School District Riverside 5099
Pechanga Resort & Casino Temecula 4800
Loma Linda University Medical Center Loma Linda 4676
Guidant Corp (now Abbot Labs) Temecula 4500
San Bernardino City Unified School District San Bernardino 4055
Fontana Unified School District Fontana 3953
Loma Linda University Loma Linda 3906
Riverside Community College Riverside 3753
Kaiser Permanente Medical Center Riverside 3200
Chino Valley Unified School District Chino 3200
City of Riverside Riverside 3261
San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Highland 3261
California State University San Bernardino 3012
Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa Cabazon 3000
Southern California Edison Rosemead 2804
Temecula Unified School District Temecula 2667
Cal Poly Pomona Pomona 2640
California Institution for Men Chino 2327
Hemet Unified School District Hemet 2270
Pomona Unified School District Pomona 2267
Colton Joint Unified School District Colton 2257
Jerry L. Pettis Veterans Hospital Loma Linda 2100
Eisenhower Medical Center Rancho Mirage 2053
Riverside County Office of Education Riverside 2000
Hemet Valley Medical Center Hemet 2000
Patton State Hospital Highland 2000
Fender Corona 2000
Alvord Unified School District Riverside 2000
Hesperia Unified School District Hesperia 1946
San Antonio Community Hospital Upland 1900
Fleewood Enterprises Inc. Riverside 1875
Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow 1868
Redlands Unified School District Redlands 1824
City of San Bernardino San Bernardino 1760
Riverside Community Hospital Riverside 1600
Environmental System Research Institute (ESRI) Redlands 1600
Lake Elsinore Unified School District Lake Elsinore 1577
Jurupa Unified School District Riverside 1548
City of San Bernardino San Bernardino 1500
Watson Pharmaceuticals Corona 1500
Riverside Community College Riverside 1436
The Press-Enterprise Riverside 1400
United States Postal Service Redlands 1400
Starcrest Perris 1400
Saint Bernardine Medical Center San Bernardino 1400
Apple Valley Unified School District Apple Valley 1390
Chaffey Community College District Rancho Cucamonga 1385
North American Medical Management Ontario 1304
Redlands Community Hospital Redlands 1300
Community Hospital of San Bernardino San Bernardino 1200
State of California Rehabilitation Center Norco 1169
Fantasy Springs Resort Casino Indio 1100
Etiwanda School District Etiwanda 1094
City of Ontario Ontario 1075
Corona Regional Medical Center Corona 1011
Agua Caliente Casino Rancho Mirage 1000
California Steel Industries Inc. Fontana 956
Naval Surface Warfare Center Corona 926


San Bernardino County is part of the Inland Empire area of Southern California, which also includes Riverside County. At just over 20,000 square miles (52,000 km2), San Bernardino County is slightly larger than the states of New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware and Rhode Island combined. It is the largest county in the United States (Alaska has boroughs). It is the only county in California bordered by both Nevada and Arizona, and is one of only two counties in California bordering more than one U.S. state (the other being Modoc County, bordering Nevada and Oregon in the northeast corner of the state).

The bulk of the population, roughly 1.6 million, live in the roughly 480 square miles south of the San Bernardino Mountains adjacent to Riverside and in the San Bernardino Valley. Over 300,000 others live just north of the San Bernardino Mountains, agglomerating around Victorville covering roughly 280 square miles in Victor Valley, adjacent to Los Angeles County. Roughly another 100,000 people live scattered across the rest of the sprawling county.

The Mojave National Preserve covers some of the eastern desert, especially between Interstate 15 and Interstate 40. The desert portion also includes the cities of Needles next to the Colorado River and Barstow at the junction in Interstate 15 and Interstate 40. Trona is at the northwestern part of the county west of Death Valley. This national park, mostly within Inyo County, also has a small portion of land within the San Bernardino County. The largest metropolitan area in the Mojave Desert part of the county is Victor Valley, with the incorporated localities of Adelanto, Apple Valley, Hesperia, and Victorville. Further south, a portion of Joshua Tree National Park overlaps the county near Twentynine Palms. Additional places near and west of Twentynine palms include Yucca Valley, Joshua Tree, and Morongo Valley.

The mountains are home to the San Bernardino National Forest, and include the communities of Crestline, Lake Arrowhead, Running Springs, Big Bear City, Forest Falls, and Big Bear Lake.

The San Bernardino Valley is at the eastern end of the San Gabriel Valley. The San Bernardino Valley includes the cities of Ontario, Chino, Chino Hills, Upland, Fontana, Rialto, Colton, Grand Terrace, Rancho Cucamonga, San Bernardino, Loma Linda, Highland, Redlands, and Yucaipa.

Incorporated communities

San Bernardino County
Median Income,
Adelanto 1970 31,765 $41,444
Apple Valley 1988 69,135 $46,751
Barstow 1947 22,639 $44,737
Big Bear Lake 1981 5,019 $43,983
Chino 1910 77,983 $70,994
Chino Hills 1991 74,799 $103,706
Colton 1887 52,154 $45,911
Fontana 1952 196,069 $60,722
Grand Terrace 1978 12,040 $69,806
Hesperia 1988 90,173 $43,018
Highland 1987 53,104 $53,917
Loma Linda 1970 23,261 $49,211
Montclair 1956 36,664 $52,768
Needles 1913 4,844 $35,338
Ontario 1891 163,924 $56,688
Rancho Cucamonga 1977 165,269 $75,429
Redlands 1888 68,747 $63,463
Rialto 1911 99,171 $45,759
San Bernardino 1854 209,924 $36,676
Twentynine Palms 1987 25,048 $36,471
Upland 1906 73,732 $64,894
Victorville 1962 115,903 $50,531
Yucaipa 1989 51,367 $50,529
Yucca Valley 1991 20,700 $38,092

Unincorporated communities

Adjacent counties

Counties adjacent to San Bernardino County, California
Counties adjacent to San Bernardino County, California

National protected areas

There are at least 35 official wilderness areas in the county that are part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. This is the largest number of any county in the United States (although not the largest in total area). The majority are managed by the Bureau of Land Management, but some are integral components of the above listed national protected areas. Most of these wilderness areas lie entirely within the county, but a few are shared with neighboring counties (and two of these are shared with the neighboring states of Arizona and Nevada).

Except as noted, these wilderness areas are managed solely by the Bureau of Land Management and lie entirely within San Bernardino County:

  • Bigelow Cholla Garden Wilderness
  • Bighorn Mountain Wilderness (partly in San Bernardino National Forest)
  • Black Mountain Wilderness
  • Bristol Mountains Wilderness
  • Cadiz Dunes Wilderness
  • Chemehuevi Mountains Wilderness
  • Cleghorn Lakes Wilderness
  • Clipper Mountain Wilderness
  • Cucamonga Wilderness (entirely in San Bernardino National Forest and in Angeles National Forest)
  • Dead Mountains Wilderness
  • Death Valley Wilderness (entirely in Death Valley National Park / partly in Inyo County, CA; Nye County, NV; and Esmeralda County, NV)
  • Golden Valley Wilderness
  • Grass Valley Wilderness
  • Havasu Wilderness (entirely in Havasu National Wildlife Refuge / partly in Mohave County, AZ)
  • Hollow Hills Wilderness
  • Joshua Tree Wilderness (entirely in Joshua Tree National Park / partly in Riverside County, CA)
  • Kelso Dunes Wilderness
  • Kingston Range Wilderness
  • Mesquite Wilderness
  • Mojave Wilderness (entirely in Mohave National Preserve)
  • Newberry Mountains Wilderness
  • North Mesquite Mountains Wilderness
  • Old Woman Mountains Wilderness
  • Pahrump Valley Wilderness (partly in Inyo County, CA)
  • Piute Mountains Wilderness
  • Rodman Mountains Wilderness
  • Saddle Peak Hills Wilderness (partly in Inyo County, CA)
  • San Gorgonio Wilderness (partly in San Bernardino National Forest / partly in Riverside County, CA)
  • Sheep Mountain Wilderness (entirely in Angeles National Forest and San Bernardino National Forest / partly in Los Angeles County, CA)
  • Sheephole Valley Wilderness
  • Stateline Wilderness
  • Stepladder Mountains Wilderness
  • Trilobite Wilderness
  • Turtle Mountains Wilderness
  • Whipple Mountains Wilderness



Places by population, race, and income


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 20122,081,3932.3%
U.S. Decennial Census[13]
2012 Estimate[14]

The 2010 United States Census reported that San Bernardino County had a population of 2,035,210. The racial makeup of San Bernardino County was 1,153,161 (56.7%) White, 181,862 (8.9%) African American, 22,689 (1.1%) Native American, 128,603 (6.3%) Asian, 6,870 (0.3%) Pacific Islander, 439,661 (21.6%) from other races, and 102,364 (5.0%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1,001,145 persons (49.2%).[15]


As of the census[16] of 2000, there were 1,709,434 people, 528,594 households, and 404,374 families residing in the county. The population density was 85 people per square mile (33/km²). There were 601,369 housing units at an average density of 30 per square mile (12/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 58.9% White, 9.1% African American, 1.2% Native American, 4.7% Asian, 0.3% Pacific Islander, 20.8% from other races, and 5.0% from two or more races. 39.2% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 8.3% were of German, 5.5% English and 5.1% Irish ancestry according to Census 2000. 66.1% spoke English, 27.7% Spanish and 1.1% Tagalog as their first language.

There were 528,594 households, out of which 43.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.8% were married couples living together, 14.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.5% were non-families. 18.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 6.6% had someone 65 years of age or older living alone. The average household size was 3.2 people, and the average family size was 3.6 people.

The number of homeless in San Bernardino County grew from 5,270 in 2002 to 7,331 in 2007, a 39% increase.[17]

In the county the population was spread out—with 32.3% under the age of 18, 10.3% from 18 to 24, 30.2% from 25 to 44, 18.7% from 45 to 64, and 8.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females there were 99.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.2 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $42,066, and the median income for a family was $46,574. Males had a median income of $37,025 versus $27,993 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,856. About 12.6% of families and 15.80% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.6% of those under age 18 and 8.4% of those age 65 or over.

Transportation infrastructure

Major highways

Public transportation

  • Barstow Area Transit serves Barstow and the surrounding county area.
  • Morongo Basin Transit Authority provides bus service in Yucca Valley, Joshua Tree and Twentynine Palms (including the Marine base). Limited service is also provided to Palm Springs.
  • Mountain Area Regional Transit Authority (MARTA) covers the Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear regions. Limited service is also provided to Downtown San Bernardino.
  • Needles Area Transit serves Needles and the surrounding county area.
  • Omnitrans provides transit service in the urbanized portion of San Bernardino County, serving the City of San Bernardino, as well as the area between Montclair and Yucaipa.
  • Victor Valley Transit Authority operates buses in Victorville, Hesperia, Adelanto, Apple Valley and the surrounding county area.
  • Foothill Transit connects the Inland Empire area to the San Gabriel Valley and downtown Los Angeles.
  • OCTA connects Chino to Irvine and Brea.
  • RTA connects Montclair to Riverside County.
  • San Bernardino County is also served by Greyhound buses and Amtrak trains. Metrolink commuter trains connect the urbanized portion of the county with Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside Counties.



Colleges and universities


San Bernardino County is home to the San Bernardino County Library system, which consists of 34 branches within the county and branches in College of the Desert, Moreno Valley, Murrieta, and Victorville.[19] Branch libraries offer services such as free internet access, live 24/7 reference services, vital records, LITE (Literacy, Information, Technology, and Education) Centers for children, and literacy programs.[20]

City-sponsored public libraries also exist in San Bernardino County, including A. K. Smiley Public Library in Redlands, California, which was built in 1898.[21] Other public libraries in the County include: San Bernardino City Public Library, Rancho Cucamonga Public Library, Upland Public Library, Colton City Library, and the Ontario City Library.[22]


The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors has 5 members elected from their districts.


Voter registration statistics

Cities by population and voter registration


San Bernardino County vote
by party in presidential elections
Year GOP DEM Others
2012 45.1% 262,358 52.3% 305,109 2.3% 12,376
2008 45.8% 277,408 52.1% 315,720 2.2% 13,206
2004 55.3% 289,306 43.6% 227,789 1.1% 5,682
2000 48.8% 221,757 47.2% 214,749 4.0% 18,387
1996 43.6% 180,135 44.4% 183,372 12.1% 49,848
1992 37.2% 176,563 38.7% 183,634 24.0% 113,873
1988 60.0% 235,167 38.6% 151,118 1.5% 5,723
1984 64.8% 222,071 34.0% 116,454 1.2% 4,180
1980 59.7% 172,957 31.7% 91,790 8.7% 25,065
1976 49.5% 113,265 47.9% 109,636 2.6% 5,984
1972 59.7% 144,689 35.5% 85,986 4.8% 11,581
1968 50.1% 111,974 40.0% 89,418 9.9% 22,224
1964 42.8% 92,145 57.1% 123,012 0.1% 243
1960 52.0% 99,481 47.5% 90,888 0.5% 944
1956 56.9% 86,263 42.8% 64,946 0.3% 443
1952 57.3% 77,718 41.8% 56,663 0.9% 1,153
1948 48.6% 46,570 47.7% 45,691 3.8% 3,577
1944 46.5% 34,084 52.6% 38,530 0.9% 646
1940 44.3% 30,511 54.5% 37,520 1.2% 847
1936 39.0% 22,219 59.5% 33,955 1.5% 842
1932 44.6% 22,094 50.2% 24,889 5.2% 2,565
1928 74.7% 29,229 24.1% 9,436 1.1% 447
1924 56.9% 15,974 9.4% 2,634 33.7% 9,453
1920 62.8% 12,518 28.2% 5,620 9.0% 1,783

San Bernardino County is a county, in which candidates from both major political parties have won in recent elections. The Democratic Party carried the county in 2008, with Barack Obama winning a majority of its votes, and in 1992 and 1996, when Bill Clinton won pluralities. Republican George W. Bush took the county in 2000 by a plurality and in 2004 by a majority. The county is split between heavily Latino, middle-class, and Democratic areas and more wealthy conservative areas. The heavily Latino cities of Ontario and San Bernardino went for John Kerry in 2004, but with a relatively low voter turnout. In 2006, San Bernardino's population exceeded 201,000, and in 2004, only 42,520 votes were cast in the city; in 2006, strongly Republican Rancho Cucamonga had over 145,000 residents, of whom 53,054 voted.

In the House of Representatives, all of California's 43rd congressional district and parts of the 25th, 26th, 41st, and 42nd districts are in the county. Except for the 43rd, which is held by Democrat Joe Baca, every district is held by Republicans: Buck McKeon, David Dreier, Jerry Lewis, and Gary Miller respectively.

In the State Assembly, tiny parts of the 32nd and 34th districts, parts of the 36th, 59th, 60th, 61st, 63rd, and 65th districts, and all of the 62nd district are in the county. Except for the 61st and 62nd districts, which are represented by Democrats Norma Torres and Wilmer Carter respectively, every district is represented by a Republican: Shannon Grove (AD-32), Minority Leader Connie Conway (AD-34), Steve Knight (AD-36), Tim Donnelly (AD-59), Curt Hagman (AD-60), Mike Morrell (AD-63), and Paul Cook (AD-65).

In the State Senate, parts of the 17th, 18th, 29th, 31st, and 32nd districts are in the county, and are held by Republicans Sharon Runner, Jean Fuller, Bob Huff, and Minority Leader Bob Dutton, and Democrat Gloria Negrete McLeod respectively.

According to the California Secretary of State, as of May, 2009, there were 806,589 registered voters in San Bernardino County. Of those, 324,857 (40.28%) were registered Democrats, 306,203 (37.96%) were registered Republicans, with the remainder belonging to minor political parties or declining to state.[24]


On Nov. 4, 2008 San Bernardino County voted 67% for Proposition 8, which amended the California Constitution to ban same-sex marriages.

Public safety

Law enforcement

The county's primary law enforcement agency is the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department. The department provides law enforcement services in the unincorporated areas of the county and in 14 contract cities, operates the county jail system, provides marshal services in the county superior courts, and has numerous other divisions to serve the residents of the county.

Sergeant Phil Brown of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department said the gangs are growing more violent in the farthest reaches of the county, including the High Desert. Racial tensions among Chicano gangs and African-American gangs have increased dramatically in the Inland Empire, affecting even the most rural areas. "It's getting out in more remote areas," Brown said. "They go gang against gang. There's more gang violence to the general public and it's becoming more random..."[25]

Fire rescue

The county operates the San Bernardino County Consolidated Fire District (commonly known as the San Bernardino County Fire Department). The department provides "all-risk" fire, rescue, and emergency medical services to all unincorporated areas in the county except for several areas served by independent fire protection districts, and several cities that chose to contract with the department.

Environmental quality

California Attorney General Jerry Brown sued the county in April 2007 under the state's environmental quality act for failing to account for the impact of global warming in the county's 25-year growth plan, approved in March. The Center for Biological Diversity, the Sierra Club and the Audubon Society also sued in a separate case. According to Brendan Cummings, a senior attorney for the plaintiffs: "San Bernardino has never seen a project it didn't like. They rubber-stamp development. It's very much of a frontier mentality." The plaintiffs want the county to rewrite its growth plan's environmental impact statement to include methods to measure greenhouse gases and take steps to reduce them.[26]

According to county spokesman David Wert, only 15% of the county is actually controlled by the county; the rest is cities and federal and state land. However, the county says it will make sure employment centers and housing are near transportation corridors to reduce traffic and do more to promote compact development and mass transit. The county budgeted $325,000 to fight the lawsuit.[26]

The state and the county reached a settlement in August 2007.[27] The county agreed to amend its general plan to include a Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Plan, including an emissions inventory and reduction targets.

Places of interest

Notable people

Including current residents, as well as former residents who have made their mark in history:

See also

Southern California portal
Inland Empire portal
Greater Los Angeles portal



External links

  • San Bernardino County website
  • San Bernardino County Museum website
  • San Bernardino County Library website

Coordinates: 34°50′N 116°11′W / 34.83°N 116.19°W / 34.83; -116.19

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