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Inland Empire Population Growth 5th Largest in the US

According to the Orange County Register, March 28, 2022, new US Census Bureau stats tell us the Inland Empire added 47,601 people in the year ended July 2021, the fifth-biggest gain among the 50 largest metro areas. That’s a sharp contrast to the region comprising Los Angeles and Orange counties, which lost 175,913 residents, the nation’s second-worst decline. Note that 24 of these 50 giant metro areas suffered population declines. The gain pushed the Inland Empire population to 4.65 million residents as of July 2021, making it the 12th most populous metro area in the U.S. L.A.-O.C. fell to 13 million people, still No. 2 behind the New York-New Jersey region. So, what’s the appeal of Riverside and San Bernardino counties? Let’s start with the job market. The Inland Empire had 1.57 million jobs last year — 16,300 more than pre-pandemic 2019. Now add in home prices. Rough commutes from the I.E. were previously seen as a roadblock to more eastward relocations. Enter the pandemic and working from home, and the region is now more attractive. The paychecks also stretch farther inland. February’s estimated house payments, assuming 20% down, by county are: Orange: $3,512 monthly on the $985,000 median — and that’s after finding a $197,000 down payment. Los Angeles: $2,852 on $800,000 — with a $160,000 down payment. Riverside: $2,015 on $565,000 — with a $113,000 down payment. San Bernardino: $1,729 on $485,000 — with a $97,000 down payment. The Inland Empire’s overall cost of living is 8% below L.A.-O.C., according to a federal price-parity measure.

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