Postsecondary to Prosperity: Expanding Opportunity Across the Inland Empire

Despite Being Home to 14 Public Colleges and Universities, Access to Opportunity Varies Widely Across the Inland Empire

With more than 4.5 million residents, the Inland Empire (consisting of Riverside County and San Bernardino County) is home to 12 percent of California’s population, as well as 12 of California’s community colleges, ­one California State University campus, and one University of California campus. Yet residents’ access to these higher education institutions—and eventual degree attainment—varies widely among different populations, according to data analyzed through the California Postsecondary to Prosperity Dashboard, a comprehensive tool from California Competes.

By breaking down critical insights into economic opportunity, the Dashboard shows how outcomes vary by race/ethnicity, gender, and other factors. Further, the data reveals that employment alone does not secure residents’ well-being or ability to build wealth.


  • While 59 percent of the region’s high school graduates go directly to college, homeless students, foster youth, English language learners, and students with disabilities face tremendous barriers—only roughly 35 percent of this population go directly to college.
  • Ninety-three percent of Latinx residents ages 25–64 in the Inland Empire are employed, but only 53 percent of Latinx households earn a living wage. In contrast, 95 percent of white residents of the same age group are employed, and 73 percent of white households earn a living wage.
  • While the Inland Empire’s households are slightly more likely than other Californians to earn a living wage or attain an associate’s degree, the area’s employment rate falls just below the state average, and bachelor’s degree attainment is far less than the state average.

To learn more, explore the California Postsecondary to Prosperity Dashboard.

Featured Items


Postsecondary to Prosperity: Inland Empire


Postsecondary to Prosperity: Examining California’s Opportunity Landscape

July 29, 2020

Check Out Job Openings at California Competes