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San Bernardino County, California facts for kids

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San Bernardino County
County of San Bernardino
San Bernardino County Courthouse 2.jpg
Downtown San Bernardino.jpg
Calico view from lookout point.jpg
SanGorgonioWilderness DryLake.jpg
Images, from top down, left to right: San Bernardino County Court House, Downtown San Bernardino, Calico ghost town, a view of the San Bernardino Mountains range from San Gorgonio Wilderness
Flag of San Bernardino County
Coat of arms of San Bernardino County
Coat of arms
Location in the state of California
Location in the state of California
Country United States
State California
Established April 26, 1853
Named for San Bernardino, named for San Bernardino de Sena Estancia, named in turn for Saint Bernardino of Siena
County seat San Bernardino
Largest city (Pop.) San Bernardino
Largest city (Area) Victorville
 • Total 20,105 sq mi (52,070 km2)
 • Land 20,057 sq mi (51,950 km2)
 • Water 48 sq mi (120 km2)
Highest elevation
11,503 ft (3,506 m)
 • Total 2,181,654
 • Density 109/sq mi (42/km2)
Time zone UTC−8 (Pacific Time Zone)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−7 (Pacific Daylight Time)
Area codes 442/760, 909, 951
FIPS code 06-071

San Bernardino County, officially the County of San Bernardino, is a county located in the southern portion of the U.S. state of California, and is located within the Inland Empire area. As of the 2020 U.S. Census, the population was 2,181,654, making it the fifth-most populous county in California and the 14th-most populous in the United States. The county seat is San Bernardino.

While included within the Greater Los Angeles area, San Bernardino County is included in the RiversideSan BernardinoOntario metropolitan statistical area, as well as the Los AngelesLong Beach combined statistical area.

With an area of 20,105 square miles (52,070 km2), San Bernardino County is the largest county in the contiguous United States by area, although some of Alaska's boroughs and census areas are larger. The county is close to the size of West Virginia.

This vast county stretches from where the bulk of the county population resides in three Census County Divisions (Fontana, San Bernardino, and Victorville-Hesperia), counting 1,793,186 people as of the 2010 Census, covering 1,730 square miles (4,480 km2), across the thinly populated deserts and mountains. It spans an area from south of the San Bernardino Mountains in San Bernardino Valley, to the Nevada border and the Colorado River.

With a population that is 53.7% Hispanic as of 2020, it is California's most populous majority-Hispanic county and the second-largest nationwide.


World's Columbian Exposition- Horticultural Building, Chicago, United States, 1893.
San Bernardino County horticulture exhibit at World Columbian Exposition, Chicago 1893.

Spanish Missionaries from Mission San Gabriel Arcángel established a church at the village of Politania in 1810. Father Francisco Dumetz named the church San Bernardino on May 20, 1810, after the feast day of St. Bernardino of Siena. The Franciscans also 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. In 1819, they established the San Bernardino de Sena Estancia, a mission farm in what is now Redlands.

Following Mexican independence from Spain in 1821, Mexican citizens were granted land grants to establish ranchos in the area of the county. Rancho Jurupa in 1838, Rancho Cucamonga and El Rincon in 1839, Rancho Santa Ana del Chino in 1841, Rancho San Bernardino in 1842 and Rancho Muscupiabe in 1844.

Agua Mansa was the first town in what became San Bernardino County, settled by immigrants from New Mexico on land donated from the Rancho Jurupa in 1841.

Following the purchase of Rancho San Bernardino, and the establishment of the town of San Bernardino in 1851 by Mormon colonists, San Bernardino County was formed in 1853 from parts of Los Angeles County. Some of the southern parts of the county's territory were given to Riverside County in 1893.


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

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 20,105 square miles (52,070 km2), of which 20,057 square miles (51,950 km2) is land and 48 square miles (120 km2) (0.2%) is water. It is the largest county by area in California and the largest in the United States (excluding boroughs in Alaska). It is slightly larger than the states of New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware and Rhode Island combined. It borders both Nevada and Arizona.

The bulk of the population, roughly two 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.

Adjacent counties

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:



Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 5,551
1870 3,988 −28.2%
1880 7,786 95.2%
1890 25,497 227.5%
1900 27,929 9.5%
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%
2010 2,035,210 19.1%
2020 2,181,654 7.2%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010 2020

2020 census

San Bernardino County, California - Demographic Profile
(NH = Non-Hispanic)
Race / Ethnicity Pop 2010 Pop 2020 % 2010 % 2020
White alone (NH) 677,598 566,113 33.29% 25.95%
Black or African American alone (NH) 170,700 173,322 8.39% 7.94%
Native American or Alaska Native alone (NH) 8,523 8,412 0.42% 0.39%
Asian alone (NH) 123,978 176,204 6.09% 8.08%
Pacific Islander alone (NH) 5,845 6,173 0.29% 0.28%
Some Other Race alone (NH) 4,055 12,117 0.20% 0.56%
Mixed Race/Multi-Racial (NH) 43,366 68,400 2.13% 3.14%
Hispanic or Latino (any race) 1,001,145 1,170,913 49.19% 53.67%
Total 2,035,210 2,181,654 100.00% 100.00%

Note: the US Census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos can be of any race.


Places by population, race, and income

2010 Census

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%).


As of the census 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. 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.

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.


Major highways

  • I-10
  • I-15
  • I-15 Bus.
  • I-40
  • I-210
  • I-215
  • US 95
  • US 395
  • SR 2
  • SR 18
  • SR 38
  • SR 58
  • SR 60
  • SR 62
  • SR 66
  • SR 71
  • SR 83
  • SR 127
  • SR 138
  • SR 142
  • SR 173
  • SR 178
  • SR 189
  • SR 247
  • SR 259
  • SR 330

Public transportation

  • 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.
  • RTA connects Montclair, and Anaheim 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.


  • Commercial domestic and international passenger flights are available at Ontario International Airport. Ontario is also the second-largest air freight hub in the Southern California region after LAX.
  • Though commercial passenger operations have been planned and discussed for years, San Bernardino International Airport is currently being developed mainly as an additional air freight hub in the region and is the site of general aviation operations which were moved from the now-closed Rialto airport. SBIA can be accessed from I-215 via Mill Street, I-10 via Tippecanoe Avenue, and I-210 via 3rd Street. Terminal construction recently finished, and commercial flights are planned, awaiting carriers to select SBD as a destination airport. There is also a logistics center for Amazon's Amazon Air service that has recently completed construction on the airport grounds.
  • Southern California Logistics Airport (Victorville) is a major airplane graveyard, general aviation airport, and a Partial Air Force Installation.
  • The County of San Bernardino owns six general aviation airports: Apple Valley Airport, Baker Airport, Barstow-Daggett Airport, Chino Airport, Needles Airport, and Twentynine Palms Airport.
  • Other general aviation airports in the county include: Big Bear City Airport, Cable Airport (Upland), Hesperia Airport (not listed in NPIAS), and Redlands Municipal Airport

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.

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.

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



San Bernardino County
Median Income,
Land Area
sq mi (km2)
Adelanto 1970 32,511 $34,925 56.009 (145.062)
Apple Valley 1988 70,755 $40,313 73.193 (189.57)
Barstow 1947 23,292 $41,556 41.385 (107.186)
Big Bear Lake 1981 5,121 $32,869 6.346 (16.435)
Chino 1910 81,747 $66,035 29.639 (76.766)
Chino Hills 1991 76,131 $82,241 44.681 (115.723)
Colton 1887 53,057 $38,329 15.324 (39.689)
Fontana 1952 204,312 $61,085 42.432 (109.899)
Grand Terrace 1978 12,285 $64,073 3.502 (9.07)
Hesperia 1988 91,506 $38,058 73.096 (189.316)
Highland 1987 54,033 $53,524 18.755 (48.575)
Loma Linda 1970 23,614 $59,358 7.516 (19.467)
Montclair 1956 37,374 $47,360 5.517 (14.289)
Needles 1913 4,908 $29,613 30.808 (79.793)
Ontario 1891 167,382 $52,014 49.941 (129.345)
Rancho Cucamonga 1977 172,299 $74,118 39.851 (103.212)
Redlands 1888 69,882 $61,681 36.126 (93.565)
Rialto 1911 101,429 $48,197 22.351 (57.889)
San Bernardino 1854 212,721 $37,244 59.201 (153.33)
Twentynine Palms 1987 26,576 $40,975 59.143 (153.179)
Upland 1906 75,147 $56,480 15.617 (40.448)
Victorville 1962 120,590 $44,426 73.178 (189.529)
Yucaipa 1989 52,654 $57,539 27.888 (72.231)
Yucca Valley 1991 21,053 $40,057 40.015 (103.639)

Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities

Ghost towns

Population ranking

The population ranking of the following table is based on the 2010 census of San Bernardino County.

county seat

Rank City/Town/etc. Municipal type Population (2010 Census)
1 San Bernardino City 209,924
2 Fontana City 196,069
3 Rancho Cucamonga City 165,269
4 Ontario City 163,924
5 Victorville City 115,903
6 Rialto City 99,171
7 Hesperia City 90,173
8 Chino City 77,983
9 Chino Hills City 74,799
10 Upland City 73,732
11 Apple Valley Town 69,134
12 Redlands City 68,747
13 Highland City 53,104
14 Colton City 52,154
15 Yucaipa City 51,367
16 Montclair City 36,664
17 Adelanto City 31,765
18 Twentynine Palms City 25,048
19 Bloomington CDP 23,851
20 Loma Linda City 23,261
21 Barstow City 22,639
22 Yucca Valley Town 20,700
23 Phelan CDP 14,304
24 Lake Arrowhead CDP 12,424
25 Big Bear City CDP 12,304
26 Grand Terrace City 12,040
27 Crestline CDP 10,770
28 Muscoy CDP 10,644
29 Oak Hills CDP 8,879
30 Fort Irwin CDP 8,845
31 Mentone CDP 8,720
32 Spring Valley Lake CDP 8,220
33 Joshua Tree CDP 7,414
34 Piñon Hills CDP 7,272
35 Lucerne Valley CDP 5,811
36 Silver Lakes CDP 5,623
37 Big Bear Lake City 5,019
38 Running Springs CDP 4,862
39 Needles City 4,844
40 Wrightwood CDP 4,525
41 Landers Town 3,910
42 Morongo Valley CDP 3,552
43 Lenwood CDP 3,543
44 San Antonio Heights CDP 3,371
45 Mountain View Acres CDP 3,130
46 Homestead Valley CDP 3,032
47 Searless Valley CDP 1,739
48 Colorado River Indian Reservation AIAN 1,687
49 Big River CDP 1,327
50 Baker CDP 735
51 Lytle Creek CDP 701
52 Oak Glen CDP 638
53 Chemehuevi Reservation AIAN 308
54 Fort Mojave Indian Reservation AIAN 250
55 Bluewater CDP 172
56 San Manuel Reservation AIAN 112
57 Twenty-Nine Palms Reservation AIAN 12

Places of interest


Colleges and universities

  • Barstow Community College
  • Brandman University (Ontario campus)
  • California State University, San Bernardino
  • Chaffey College
  • Copper Mountain College
  • Crafton Hills College
  • Loma Linda University
  • National University (campuses in Ontario and San Bernardino)
  • Palo Verde Community College (Needles campus)
  • San Bernardino Valley College
  • University of Redlands
  • Victor Valley College

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