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Introduction

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The Inland Empire (IE) is a metropolitan area and region in Southern California. The term may be used to refer to the cities of western Riverside County and southwestern San Bernardino County, sometimes including the desert communities of Palm Springs and the rest of the Coachella Valley; a much larger definition includes all of San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

The U.S. Census Bureau-defined Riverside–San Bernardino–Ontario metropolitan area, which comprises Riverside County and San Bernardino County, California, covers more than 27,000 sq mi (70,000 km2) and has a population of approximately 4 million. Most of the area's population is located in southwestern San Bernardino County and northwestern Riverside County. At the end of the nineteenth century, the Inland Empire was a major center of agriculture, including citrus, dairy, and winemaking. However, agriculture declined through the twentieth century, and since the 1970s a rapidly growing population, fed by families migrating in search of affordable housing, has led to more residential, industrial, and commercial development.

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