Inland migration

Numbers released this week by California Department of Finance reveal that once again, Inland Southern California leads the state in population growth as both Riverside and San Bernardino counties added nearly 140,000 residents between July 2003 and July 2004.

The increases are particularly notable because Riverside and San Bernardino counties already had more than 3.6 million people between them in July 2003.

Riverside Press-Enterprise – February 8, 2005

Percentage-wise, Riverside County led all counties in the state with a 4.45% population increase — an impressive number considering the county already has 1.8 million residents (counties with lower population bases tend to top this list due to the relatively low raw numbers needed to post high percentage gains).

Not to be totally outdone, San Bernardino County’s 3.22% population gain ranked 6th on the list (again impressive on account of the county’s 1.9 million population base). San Diego, Orange and Los Angeles counties ranked 29, 31 and 32 respectively.

Numerically, the top 5 counties in the state were all in Southern California, with Los Angeles County (132,309) topping the list for the number of residents added. Riverside (78,610) and San Bernardino (60,188) counties ranked 2nd and 3rd respectively. San Diego (41,919) and Orange (39,898) counties rounded out the top 5.

With the latest numbers, the state’s 5 most-populous counties are all within Southern California: Los Angeles (10,179,716), Orange (3,044,819), San Diego (3,036,373), San Bernardino (1,930,416) and Riverside (1,846,095). Together, the 5 counties comprise 20,037,419 of the state’s 36,590,814 residents, or approximately 55% of the total population).

Ranked 6th, 7th and 9th respectively are the Bay Area counties of Santa Clara (San Jose) with 1,749,365, Alameda (Oakland) with 1,501,952, and Contra Costa (Concord) with 1,016,302.

With only 795,180 residents, San Francisco County was a distant twelfth. The state capital — Sacramento County — ranked 8th (1,360,346).


  • Riverside Press-Enterprise – Inland area growing fast (Feb. 8)
  • California Dep’t of Finance – July 2003 – July 2004 county population estimates

Sources: Riverside Press-Enterprise (PE-20050208), California Department of Finance

2024 PAGE UPDATE: Added newspaper citation/insert; removed outdated links to newspaper article and Califorina Dep’t of Finance.

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