2016 San Bernardino County Community Indicators Report

James Ramos A Message from Supervisor James Ramos

Building and maintaining a prosperous, healthy, and livable community requires honest and repeated self-assessment. We must constantly measure the progress we are making toward the realization of our shared Countywide Vision. That is the purpose of this annual San Bernardino County Community Indicators Report.

This report, updated annually, began in 2010 and marks our dedication to taking an objective look at our large and diverse county, specifically our economy, our schools, healthcare, public safety, environment, and our overall quality of life. These are the interrelated and interdependent elements of the “complete county” upon which our Vision is based.

The idea behind making this report an annual effort is to measure our performance and detect trends so that the community can assess and refine its efforts toward achieving the Vision. After six years, we can see the progress we are making and where more work needs to be done. For example, the high school dropout rate has fallen seven percentage points since we began tracking it, and the number of high school graduates eligible for entrance to a University of California or California State University campus continues to grow. Unemployment remains on the decline, the recovery of the housing market is marching forward, and tourism employment in our county is higher than ever, with more than 50,000 jobs attributable to this industry. However, our national ranking as a good place to do business has declined, which could mean that the rest of the nation has not yet caught on to the great things happening in our county.

We hope this report inspires government leaders, business people, community and faith-based organizations, and others to come together and discuss strategies that are working so we may work together to bring those strategies to scale to serve our entire county.

The Community Indicators Report reflects an ongoing, annual commitment by our county to raise awareness and build stronger collaborative initiatives that address systemic challenges. This report provides a timely framework for understanding the elements of our county as an interrelated system that offers a superior quality of life and serves as a magnet for investment.

The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors appreciates your interest and involvement, and we encourage you to use the information contained in this report to help us achieve our shared Countywide Vision.

Sincerely,

James Ramos signature

Supervisor James Ramos
Chairman, Board of Supervisors, 2015-2016

Introduction

The San Bernardino County Community Indicators Report provides a broad perspective of life in San Bernardino County and the many factors that contribute to sustaining a healthy economy, environment and populace. This report is not intended to be a marketing piece that only touts the county’s positive characteristics. It does highlight trends where San Bernardino County stands out as a leader among peer regions and neighboring counties. At the same time, it points out trends where the county is stagnating or even declining, flagging issues where work is needed.

The report does not shy away from an honest assessment of the county’s status across multiple disciplines, recognizing that this analysis offers opportunities for action leading to growth and change. The ultimate goal of the San Bernardino County Community Indicators Report is to inform and inspire community members, policymakers, and business leaders working to make San Bernardino County the best it can be.

Indicator Selection Criteria

Good indicators are objective measurements that reflect how a community is doing. They reveal whether key community attributes are improving, worsening, or remaining constant. The indicators selected for inclusion in this report:

  • Reflect broad countywide interests which impact a significant percentage of the population
  • Illustrate fundamental factors that underlie long-term regional health
  • Can be easily understood and accepted by the community
  • Are statistically measurable and contain data that are both reliable and available over the long-term
  • Measure outcomes rather than inputs whenever possible

Peer Regions

To place San Bernardino County’s performance in context, many indicators compare the county to the state, nation or other regions. We compare ourselves to four neighboring counties to better understand our position within the Southern California region including Riverside, Orange, Los Angeles and San Diego counties. We also compare ourselves to three peer regions: Las Vegas, Nevada; Phoenix, Arizona; and Miami, Florida. These peer regions were selected because they are considered economic competitors or good barometers for comparison due to the many characteristics we share with them.