Characteristics of those who moved from Orange and Los Angeles counties to the Inland Empire between 2009-13:
90,494 reported moving here
65,979 came from Los Angeles County
24,515 came from Orange County
14,368 speak English “not very well”
10,097 were born in Mexico
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
All Riverside resident Alexandra Lopez has to do to gauge the number of people moving east to the Inland area is ride the Los Angeles-bound Metrolink train in the morning.
“I notice it’s more and more crowded,” said Lopez, 33. “You can tell more people are moving out here just by more people on the train.”
Lopez is one of them. In fact, she is one of tens of thousands who have relocated to Riverside and San Bernardino counties in recent years.
At least 90,500 people told the American Community Survey in polls conducted between 2009 and 2013 that they had moved here from Los Angeles and Orange counties, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, which released the figures Aug. 25, 2015.
The number of people moving Inland was at its peak during the U.S. Census reporting period when the recession began. As the economy began bouncing back, fewer people headed Inland from Los Angeles and Orange counties. But now, more are making the move when compared to the previous U.S. Census reporting period when 88,166 left Los Angeles and Orange counties for Inland homes.
The U.S. Census data shows the number of residents who move from one county or metro area to another during the course of a year. Nine of the top 10 migrating groups moved to nearby metro areas, with the largest flow moving from the Los Angeles metro to the Riverside metro area, the Census said.
About 11 percent of those heading Inland from L.A. and O.C. counties were born in Mexico, and 15.9 percent speak English “not very well,” according to the U.S. Census.
John Husing, chief economist for the Inland Empire Economic Partnership, said this shift has been ongoing for the past 50 years, and attributes it to the rise of housing costs.
In the second quarter of 2015, the median price for a Los Angeles County home was $517,000, Husing said. In the Inland Empire, it stood at about $296,000, according to his figures.
“If you want to buy a house, there’s a huge number of people who cannot afford to do so,” Husing said.
In Los Angeles, for example, only 31 percent can afford to purchase a $517,000 home, he said.
“Sixty-nine percent of the people living in Los Angeles, cannot afford the median house price in Los Angeles, which causes them to come in this direction if they’re going to buy a house,” Husing added.
In Orange County, it’s even worst. The median home price there during the same quarter stood at $698,000, Husing said.
Lopez has seen the effects of L.A. housing both as an observer and someone who has experienced it.
A native of Highland Park — a neighborhood in North East Los Angeles near Pasadena — Lopez and her family decided to move out of their rent-controlled duplex in 2009, to purchase a home.
Lopez said they got out of that area at the right time.