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San Bernardino County, California
Seal of San Bernardino County, California
Map of California highlighting San Bernardino County
Location in the state of California
Map of the U.S. highlighting California
California's location in the U.S.
Seat San Bernardino
Largest city San Bernardino
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

20,105 sq mi (52,072 km²)
20,052 sq mi (51,934 km²)
53 sq mi (137 km²),
 - (2009)
 - Density

85/sq mi (33/km²)
Founded 1853
Named for Saint Bernardino of Siena [1][2]

San Bernardino County is a county in the U.S. state of California. As of the 2000 census, the population was 1,709,434. As of 2009, the population was estimated by the California Department of Finance to have grown to 2,060,950.[3] San Bernardino County is the largest county in the continental United States by area (Alaska has four larger county equivalents), and is larger in area than each of the nine smallest states.

Located in the southeast of the state of California, the thinly populated deserts and mountains of this vast county stretch from the outskirts of the densely populated Riverside-San Bernardino Area to the Nevada border and the Colorado River.

The county seat is San Bernardino. The county is considered to be part of the Inland Empire region and is also the only county in California bordered by both Nevada and Arizona, and is one of only two counties in California bordering more than one US state (the other being Modoc County, bordering Nevada and Oregon in the northeast corner of the state).



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

San Bernardino County was formed from parts of Los Angeles County in 1853. 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.[2]

San Bernardino County horticulture exhibit at World Columbian Exposition, Chicago 1893.


The Arrowhead natural feature is the source of many local names and icons, such as Lake Arrowhead and the County of San Bernardino's seal.

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 famous national park, mostly within Inyo County, also has a small portion of land within the county. The largest metropolitan area in the Mojave Desert part of the county is the Victor Valley with the incorporated localities of Apple Valley, Victorville, Adelanto, and Hesperia. 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.

The Inland Empire area of Southern California is made up of the San Bernardino County and Riverside county.


Incorporated communities

San Bernardino County
Median Income,
Adelanto 1970 27,139 $41,444
Apple Valley 1988 70,297 $46,751
Barstow 1947 23,943 $44,737
Big Bear Lake 1981 6,207 $43,983
Chino 1910 81,224 $70,994
Chino Hills 1991 78,668 $78,394
Colton 1887 51,797 $45,911
Fontana 1952 181,640 $60,722
Grand Terrace 1978 12,380 $69,806
Hesperia 1988 85,876 $43,018
Highland 1987 52,186 $53,917
Loma Linda 1970 22,451 $49,211
Montclair 1956 36,622 $52,768
Needles 1913 5,759 $35,338
Ontario 1891 172,701 $56,688
Rancho Cucamonga 1977 174,308 $75,429
Redlands 1888 71,375 $63,463
Rialto 1911 99,064 $45,759
San Bernardino 1854 205,010 $36,676
Twentynine Palms 1987 24,830 $36,471
Upland 1906 75,169 $64,894
Victorville 1962 102,538 $50,531
Yucaipa 1989 51,784 $50,529
Yucca Valley 1991 21,044 $38,092

Unincorporated communities

Adjacent counties

San Bernardino
Counties adjacent to San Bernardino County, California

San Bernardino County, California, is one of the few counties in the United States to border as many as 8 counties.

National protected areas

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 as well as branches in Victorville, Riverside County, Murrieta, Moreno Valley, and College of the Desert.[5] Various 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. [6]

City based public libraries are also common within San Bernardino County, arguably the most notable being the A.K. Smiley Public Library in Redlands, California which was built in 1898. [7] Other public libraries within San Bernardino County include: San Bernardino City Public Library, Rancho Cucamonga Public Library, Upland Public Library, Montclair Public Library, Colton City Library, Apple Valley Public Library, and the Ontario City Library. [8]


Presidential election results
Year GOP DEM Others
2008 45.9% 277,408 52.2% 315,720 1.9% 12,281
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 12.0% 49,848
1992 37.2% 176,563 38.7% 183,634 24.0% 113,873
1988 60.0% 235,167 38.5% 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 8.6% 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

San Bernardino County is a politically competitive county, in which candidates from both major political parties have managed to win in recent elections. The Democratic Party carried the county in 2008 (when Barack Obama won a majority of its votes), as well as in 1992 and 1996, when Bill Clinton won pluralities. Meanwhile, Republican George W. Bush won the county in 2000 (also on a plurality) and 2004. The county is split between heavily Latino and Democratic areas and more conservative areas. For example, the heavily Latino cities of Ontario and San Bernardino went for John Kerry in 2004. However, these cities had a relatively low voter turnout. In 2006, San Bernardino's population exceeded 201,000, and in 2004, a mere 42,520 votes were cast in the city; in 2006, strongly Republican Rancho Cucamonga had over 145,000 people, 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: Jean Fuller (AD-32), Bill Maze (AD-34), Sharon Runner (AD-36), Anthony Adams (AD-59), Curt Hagman (AD-60), Bill Emmerson (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 George Runner, Roy Ashburn, Bob Huff, and Bob Dutton, and Democrat Gloria Negrete McLeod respectively.

On Nov. 4, 2008 San Bernardino County voted 67.0 % for Proposition 8 which amended the California Constitution to ban same-sex marriages.

According to the California Secretary of State, as of May, 2009, there are 806,589 registered voters in San Bernardino County. Of those, 324,857 (40.28%) are registered Democrats, 306,203 (37.96%) are registered Republicans,with the remainder belonging to minor political parties or declining to state.[9]


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1900 27,929
1910 56,706 103.0%
1920 73,401 29.4%
1930 133,900 82.4%
1940 161,108 20.3%
1950 281,642 74.8%
1960 503,591 78.8%
1970 684,072 35.8%
1980 895,016 30.8%
1990 1,418,380 58.5%
2000 1,709,434 20.5%
Est. 2007 2,007,800 17.5%

As of the census[10] 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 58.91% White, 9.09% African American, 1.17% Native American, 4.69% Asian, 0.30% Pacific Islander, 20.82% from other races, and 5.03% from two or more races. 39.16% 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 43.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.80% were married couples living together, 14.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.50% were non-families. 18.40% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.60% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.15 and the average family size was 3.58.

The number of homeless in San Bernardino County grew from 5,270 in 2002 to 7,331 in 2007, a 39% increase.[11]

In the county the population was spread out with 32.30% under the age of 18, 10.30% from 18 to 24, 30.20% from 25 to 44, 18.70% from 45 to 64, and 8.60% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females there were 99.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.20 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 12.60% of families and 15.80% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.60% of those under age 18 and 8.40% of those age 65 or over.

Racial mix

  • White Non-Hispanic (44.0%)
  • Hispanic (39.2%)
  • Other race (20.8%)
  • Black (9.1%)
  • Two or more races (5.0%)
  • American Indian (2.2%)
  • Filipino (1.5%)
  • Chinese (0.7%)
  • Other Asian (0.7%)
  • Vietnamese (0.6%)

The total can be greater than 100% because Hispanics could be counted in other races.[12]

Public safety

Law enforcement

SBC Sheriff's department operates a sizable fleet of helicopters. Shown here are a Bell 212 (foreground) and a Sikorsky S-61 at the air unit's Rialto headquarters.

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 as well as 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 the Chicano gangs and the African-American gangs have heightened dramatically in the Inland Empire, causing even the most rural areas to be affected. "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..." [1]

Crime statistics

Crime in 2008 (reported by the sheriff's office) [13]

Fire Rescue

The county also 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, except for several areas served by independent fire protection districts, within the county as well as several cities which have chosen 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, 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.[14]

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.[14]

The state and the county reached a settlement in August 2007.[15] 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


  1. ^ "San Bernardino, California Tourism". PlanetWare. Retrieved 2009-09-16.  
  2. ^ a b Van de Grift Sanchez, Nellie (1914). Spanish and Indian place names of California: their meaning and their romance. p. 74. Retrieved 2009-09-17.  
  3. ^ State of California, Department of Finance, E-1 population Estimates for Cities, Counties and the State with Annual Percent Change — January 1, 2008 and 2009. Sacramento, California, May 2009.
  4. ^ a b Husing, John (October 2007). "Inland Empire City Profile 2007" (PDF). Inland Empire Quarterly Economic Report (Redlands: Economics & Politics, Inc) 19 (4). Retrieved 2007-12-01.  
  5. ^ San Bernardino County Library catalog
  6. ^ San Bernardino County Library website
  7. ^ A.K. Smiley Public Library history
  8. ^ Public libraries in San Bernardino County, CA
  9. ^
  10. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  11. ^ Quan, Douglas (2007-09-25). "S.B. County steps up fight against homelessness". Press Enterprise. Retrieved 2007-12-24.  
  12. ^ Source of all statistical figures in this section: "City-data / San_Bernardino_County-CA". analyzed data from numerous sources. Retrieved 2009-03-27.  
  13. ^ "reported by the sheriff's office". City-data-county-San_Bernardino_County-CA. Retrieved 2009-08-28.  
  14. ^ a b Ritter, John (June 5, 2007). "Inland Empire's 25-year growth targeted". USA Today. Retrieved 2007-11-10.  
  15. ^ Office of the Attorney General, State of California, Brown Announces Landmark Global Warming Settlement, August 21, 2007.

External links

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

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

San Bernardino County, the largest county in the state, is a county that spans the Southern California and Desert regions of the state of California.


Southern California

The following San Bernardino County cities are in the Southern California region of California:

Mojave Desert

The following San Bernardino County cities are in the Mojave Desert region of California:

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