Inland California Rising

Why Inland California?


With rapid population and economic growth, this heartland region represents the demographic and economic future of California. 

Key facts about the region:

  • Inland California stretches from Sacramento and Stockton through Modesto, Merced, Fresno, Bakersfield, and the Inland Empire
  • With over 11 million residents, the region accounts for nearly 30 percent of California’s population and is larger than 43 states
  • At over $436 billion in GDP (2015), the region’s economy equals the 15th largest state in the United States and the 25th largest country in the world

Why Invest in Inland California?

Inland California is a land of innovators:

Social innovators who reach and empower communities through wide swaths of territory

Policy innovators who are rethinking housing and transportation to meet the needs of urban, suburban, and rural areas

Economic innovators re-framing economic development and workforce development to meet new challenges and opportunities such as automation and artificial intelligence

Political innovators who work across and beyond party lines to build strong regions together

Why Now?

California has made tremendous economic gains in the last decade. During the Great Recession, the state had one of the highest unemployment rates in the country and some of the biggest declines in public and private investment. Today, California is the fifth-largest economy in the world, outgrowing countries like the United Kingdom and France.  

Inland California has also recovered significantly from the depths of the last recession. Places that were epicenters of the housing foreclosure crisis and high levels of unemployment saw disproportionately high gains in jobs over the last decade. And yet, inequality between coastal and inland California remains stronger than before, and innovators in Inland California still struggle to gain visibility, recognition, and investment. 

Many of these geographic inequalities also map onto racial disparities in the state, with innovators and rising leaders of color in Inland California having fewer opportunities to advance. The state has a big opportunity, and obligation, to make sure that future growth in California puts the state on a more sustainable path to prosperity.