By Andrew Edwards, Staff Writer
Posted: 12/13/2012 11:49:18 AM PST

Births and immigration drove slow to moderate population increases in San Bernardino County and California as a whole, new estimates show.

The Department of Finance released figures Thursday showing San Bernardino County was home to an estimated 2.065 million people as of July. The growth is 0.57 percent greater than one year prior, a net increase of nearly 11,700.

What’s more, almost as many people chose to leave San Bernardino County in search of a new home. More than 10,000 people moved away from San Bernardino County, according to the new estimates.

Although the new numbers seem to show the continued effects of a sluggish post-recession economy, long-term forecasts predict the Inland Empire will see substantial population increases over the coming decades.

“We are most definitely the place where people are going to be coming to live in the next 20 years,” said Paul Granillo, CEO of the Inland Empire Economic Partnership, which is a business advocacy group.

The Southern California Association of Governments, a regional planning agency, published a population forecast earlier this year that anticipates that San Bernardino County’s population will grow to about 2.65 million by 2035.

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