16 Pros and Cons of Living in San Bernardino, CA

Updated On November 7, 2023

Living in San Bernardino, California is an easy way to enjoy the amenities and features of California for residents of all ages.

The variety of things to see and do attracts people to the area, many of whom decide to move to the city. 

Take the time to check out the pros and cons of living in the area when making decisions about which city is right for you and your family.

The city of San Bernardino may be the best option.  

San Bernardino, CA
San Bernardino, CA

Pros of Living in San Bernardino 

Cost of Living 

Many of the people who live in San Bernardino likely decided to choose the city because of the low cost of living.

Enjoy the opportunity to experience all that California has to offer without paying the luxury costs of residing in the state. 

Compare the cost of living in Los Angeles to the cost of living in San Bernardino, California, and it is easy to see why some people choose to reside in San Bernardino.

The 2023 cost of living is significantly higher in Los Angeles.

Residents of San Bernardino pay less for their housing, transportation, groceries, and healthcare. 

Weather and Climate 

The climate and weather in San Bernardino are popular reasons that people choose to live in the area.

The people who choose to move to the area are likely to prefer a subtropical, Mediterranean climate. 

Prepare to live in a city where the summer daytime temperatures often reach the low to mid-90s during the daytime.

Nighttime temperatures average in the high 60s. 

Winter temperatures are considerably cooler, averaging in the 60s during the daytime and dipping into the 30s and 40s at night.

San Bernardino has less annual rainfall than the average annual rainfall for the U.S.

There is an average of 38 inches of rainfall across the U.S.

The annual precipitation in San Bernardino is just 15 inches.  

Attractions and Things to Do 

There are an endless number of things to see and do when you live in San Bernardino.

Explore the San Bernardino Mountains, commonly referred to as the Alps of California.

Venture into the San Bernardino National Forest. Escape to Glen Helen Regional Park. 

The Rim of the World Scenic Byway connects several popular forest destinations and ski resorts.

Visit the San Bernardino History & Railroad Museum. San Bernardino is home to the original McDonald’s.

It is located on historic Route 66 and boasts more than 1,000 pieces of McDonald’s memorabilia. 

Low Unemployment Rate 

The unemployment rate has been dropping in the past couple of years in San Bernardino.

The unemployment rate for San Bernardino County stood at 8.5 percent in June 2021.

The unemployment in June 2023 was 4.8 percent. 

The booming job market in San Bernardino stretches across many industries.

The primary industries with open positions usually include healthcare, nursing, tourism, scientific and technical industries, and logistics.

Job growth may also continue in the trade and service industries.

Colleges and Universities 

Advance your education by getting a degree at one of the many colleges and universities in San Bernardino.

The American Sports University is the only university in the country that is dedicated to the sports industry.

Consider earning a degree at California State University San Bernardino, or at Loma Linda University School of Medicine. 

Focus on your career goals by earning a degree from the Arts Institute of California-Inland Empire, or the California Institute of Technology.

There are several other affordable higher education options in the San Bernardino area.  

Impact of Population Density 

Citytistics reviewed the results of a study that looked at the impact of population density on the quality of life.

The study determined that there is a “positive correlation” between population density and enjoying a higher quality of life. 

The correlation between population density and quality of life may have a positive impact in areas that include psychological, physical, and social fields for people who reside in San Bernardino. 

Low Cost of Housing 

Experience all that California has to offer its residents by moving to San Bernardino, where the cost of housing is lower than in many areas of the state.

The median home price in California is $744,280. 

More than 50 percent of homes in the state are selling above the list price.

The median cost of a home in San Bernardino is considerably lower, at $475,000. 

Experience the Great Outdoors 

Families, singles, and seniors do not need to spend a big chunk of their income on experiencing the great outdoors in San Bernardino.

The many hiking and biking trails, walking paths, and mountains provide a variety of opportunities to enjoy the nice weather and to get exercise. 

There are 38 parks with open areas, and 31 playground areas in the city of San Bernardino, for residents of all ages to enjoy recreation time. 

Cons of Living in San Bernardino 

Crime Rate 

The high crime rate in San Bernardino is a primary reason that some residents have concerns for their safety.

City Data indicates that in 2020, the crime rate in San Bernardino was 2.2 times higher than the U.S. average crime rate. 

The city had a higher crime rate than many nearby California cities, including Loma Linda, Rialto, Highland, Riverside, and Redlands.

The rate of violent crime is on the rise, while property crimes have decreased in the past few years.

Residents who took a poll expressed concern for their safety, with 37 percent of the residents saying that they feel “pretty safe.”

Half of the people who participated in the poll also indicated that they feel that law enforcement does not always respond quickly enough to calls. 

High Poverty Level 

The poverty level for San Bernardino is higher than the national average.

It is also higher than the average poverty level for California.  

The poverty rate in San Bernardino is approximately 25 percent.

The poverty for the city is 69 percent higher than the national average for people living in poverty. 

Public Schools 

The public schools in San Bernardino get low scores from several sites.

The test scores are low for students who are enrolled in the San Bernardino school districts. 

The test score for reading proficiency is 18 percent, compared to the state average of 49 percent.

The math proficiency score for San Bernardino school students is 9 percent, compared to the state average of 34 percent. 

Low Median Income 

The median income for residents of San Bernardino is likely a reason for the high poverty level in the city.

The median income in San Bernardino is $49,287.  

The average income for residents of San Bernardino is 27 percent below the U.S. median income rate.

Nearly 30 percent of the population of San Bernardino has an annual income of less than $35,000. 

Exceptionally Hot Days 

The weather and climate may be a positive feature of living in San Bernardino, but the very hot days may be too much for some people.

The city averages 106 days when the temperature is above 90 degrees, which is hotter than several other areas in the state.  

The average temperature in August is 96.2 degrees.

August temperatures are often higher than most other California areas. 


Plan on long commute times if you drive around San Bernardino, especially during rush hour.

The city indicates that the long commute that some people have can affect the cost of operating a vehicle and can increase pollution levels. 

Public transportation has seen a decline in ridership.

Perhaps this is because the transit is affected by factors such as distance between destinations, access in some areas, and the amount of time spent on public transit. 

Full-Time Law Enforcement 

San Bernardino ranks lower among cities that have enough full-time law enforcement officers.

The city had 345 full-time law enforcement officers, including police officers, in 2021.

There were only 31 female officers, compared to 214 males. 

San Bernardino has an average of 1.12 law enforcement officers per 1,000 residents.

The state has an average of 2.30 law enforcement officers per 1,000 residents. 

Population Density 

The population density in San Bernardino is more suburban than urban.

Yet there are common complaints that there is too much trash, too much crime and poverty, areas of homeless residents, and problems with gang activity.  

More San Bernardino rent their homes, compared to the number of residents who own their homes. 

San Bernardino, CA
San Bernardino, CA

16 Pros and Cons of Living in San Bernardino, CA – Summary Table

Pros of Living in San BernardinoCons of Living in San Bernardino
1. Cost of Living 1. Crime Rate 
2. Weather and Climate 2. High Poverty Level 
3. Attractions and Things to Do 3. Public Schools 
4. Low Unemployment Rate 4. Low Median Income 
5. Colleges and Universities 5. Exceptionally Hot Days 
6. Impact of Population Density 6. Transportation 
7. Low Cost of Housing 7. Full-Time Law Enforcement 
8. Experience the Great Outdoors 8. Population Density 

San Bernardino Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: San Bernardino Safety Review

Safety Index:
San Bernardino

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there good nightlife in San Bernardino?

The ratings are great for the nightlife in San Bernardino.

There are many clubs, bars, restaurants, and entertainment venues in the city.

What is the Inland Empire?

San Bernardino is a major component of the Inland Empire, which covers more than 27,000 square miles of both San Bernardino County and Riverside County.

It is both an urban and metropolitan area bordering Los Angeles.

Once a hub for agriculture, it is now an area consisting of commercial, residential, and industrial development.

Is there a downward trend in any crime levels?

Property crimes in the area have decreased over the past several years, even though there has been an increase in the rate of violent crimes.

Is San Bernardino known for its nature areas?

San Bernardino residents and visitors enjoy a variety of destinations that showcase the nature and beauty of San Bernardino.

Enjoy the wildflowers, the many trails, woodlands, forest areas, and sites for outdoor enthusiasts of any age and level.

What is the average commute time to work in San Bernardino?

The city indicates that the average commute time for workers in San Bernardino is slightly over 31 minutes.

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