San Bernardino County is a “very good” place to live, according to residents who think the county’s economy is excellent and have a “great deal” of trust in their elected officials. But crime continues to be a worry.

Those were some of the findings in the 2017 Inland Empire Annual Survey, a telephone survey of 1,222 residents randomly selected within San Bernardino County and conducted by the Institute of Applied Research and Policy Analysis at Cal State San Bernardino.

The institute analyzes public opinion in San Bernardino County relative to the economy, crime, ratings of the county as a place to live, private and public services, commuting, and confidence in elected officials, said institute director Barbara Sirotnik, a professor of statistics and supply chain management at Cal State San Bernardino. 

 This year the survey, which is available as an online PDF on the institute’s website, was supported by CSUSB as a platinum sponsor; the Mojave Water Agency and the city of Rancho Cucamonga as silver sponsors; and Omnitrans, city of San Bernardino, and San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools as bronze sponsors. All the sponsors gain valuable information from the collected data.

 The following are highlights of the survey as they relate to various community issues:

ECONOMIC EVALUATIONSThe number of residents who rated the county’s economy as “excellent” or “good” continued to improve, but hasn’t yet reached pre-recession levels. There continues to be an improvement in the number of respondents reporting that they are better off financially than they were a year ago. More young people feel financially better off than older people, and express more optimism about the future. Renters are more optimistic than homeowners are about the future. Hispanics have a higher likelihood than non-Hispanics to think they will be “better off” financially in the coming year.

CRIME … REALITY AND PERCEPTIONSCrime is on the upswing in the county, but fear of crime showed a slight decrease. Fear is highest in Apple Valley, Hesperia, San Bernardino and Yucaipa. Young people are more fearful than older people, females are more fearful than males, Hispanics are more fearful than non-Hispanics, and people with lower incomes and education are slightly more fearful than those with high or middle incomes.

OVERALL RATINGS OF THE COUNTY AS A PLACE TO LIVESeven out of 10 residents rated San Bernardino County as a “very good” or “fairly good” place to live. Democrats gave higher ratings of the county than Republicans or Independents, and ratings differed significantly by city of residence. Residents continued to cite “good area/location/scenery” as the most positive aspect of living in the county, and “crime/gang activity/drugs” as the most negative. Air quality has virtually dropped off the charts as a major negative of life in the county.

EVALUATIONS OF SELECTED PRIVATE AND PUBLIC SERVICESLibraries were rated the highest among all evaluated services, followed by ratings of police/sheriff, shopping, and parks and recreation. Street/road maintenance was rated lowest of the list of services, as has been the case in the past. 

COMMUTINGSince 1997, a majority of respondents have reported that their commute time is less than one hour. The percent with those “short” commutes is virtually the same as last year.  Median commute time decreased from last year’s high. San Bernardino County residents’ commutes take a huge financial and non-monetary toll. Most respondents report that they work in San Bernardino County, with Los Angeles County being the next most common destination.

CONFIDENCE IN ELECTED OFFICIALSConfidence in elected officials has barely budged for the last few years. A majority of respondents report having a “great deal” or “some” confidence in their local elected officials, but San Bernardino County figures remain below national figures from the Gallup organization.

Go to the IAR’s Inland Empire Annual Survey webpage to download a PDF format of the 2017 survey. To speak to the primary author of the report, Professor Barbara Sirotnik, call (909) 537-5729.

The Institute of Applied Research and Policy Analysis at California State University, San Bernardino, is a full-service consulting and applied research organization. The purpose of the institute is to provide a variety of research and consulting services to public agencies, business organizations, and individuals within the university's service area.

For more information on Cal State San Bernardino, contact the university’s Office of Strategic Communication at (909) 537-5007 and visit