Inland Empire

By Fielding Buck, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 06/04/16 – 8:32 PM PDT | U

RIVERSIDE >> Inland Southern California’s long boom might be over, researchers suggested this week at UC Riverside.

Population growth has not returned to pre-recession highs, and there is no indication it will, although the possibility remains, according to Hans P. Johnson of the Public Policy Institute of California.

“The economy has come back pretty well. … But you don’t see migration returning to the same extent that it was before,” he said.

Johnson and colleague Joseph Hayes were in Riverside to present a seminar called “The Updated Future of the Inland Empire” for the university’s Center for Sustainable Suburban Development.

The seminar was spun off a 2008 project by Johnson, Hayes and Deborah Reed called “The Inland Empire in 2015.” That research was done in the boom that preceded the Great Recession, which technically started in December 2007 and lasted to June 2009. But its effects are still being felt.

“This last five years has been the lowest rate of change for the region that we have seen since we’ve been keeping statistics on annual population growth,” Johnson said.

That growth, about 200,000 people, wasn’t small, but it was “still very small compared to your historic growth patterns.” California’s growth from 1950 to the mid-2000s was unprecedented, and the Inland Empire ranks as the 13th-largest metropolitan area in the United States, although he said few people are aware of it.

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