Moreno Valley is located in Riverside County, California about 16 miles south of San Bernardino. The city is part of the San Bernardino-Riverside Metro Area, also known as the Inland Empire, which has a metro population estimated at 4.2 million. Moreno Valley is one of the ten largest cities in the Inland Empire which usually refers to all of Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. Moreno Valley also belongs to the Greater Los Angeles area which is the second-largest metropolitan area in the United States with an estimated population of 18.8 million.
Diversity and Population Statistics
Moreno Valley has a diverse ethnic and racial makeup. Since the 1990s, African-Americans, Asians, and Latinos have replaced the White non-Hispanic majority. The city is home to many immigrants from Southeast Asia, Central America, the Middle East, the Balkans, the Caribbean, and the Philippines. The city is home to a community of Samoans who settled largely in Sunnymead. Between 2006 and 2007, the black population of Moreno Valley increased by 13% as many African-American families left Los Angeles County for a lower cost of living and greater opportunities. During the same time, Latinos became the majority.
When Moreno Valley became a city in 1984, it had a population of 49,700, up from just 18,800 in 1970. Rapid growth led to a population of more than 118,000 within just six years. By 1990, Moreno Valley was the second largest city in Riverside County. Throughout the 1990s, Moreno Valley was one of the fastest growing cities in the United States.
While Moreno Valley is no longer growing as rapidly as it did in the 1980s and 1990s, it continues to see sizable growth due to the rising cost of living in Orange and Los Angeles Counties. In 2018, Riverside County ranked as the top county in California for population growth with a county-wide population growth of more than 27,000 people.