Jody Agius Vallejo, an assistant professor of sociology at USC , said people move to well-off Inland suburbs such as Eastvale and Chino Hills : Houses are a better value than in coastal areas, schools are typically better than in places like Los Angeles, and crime is lower.
Fast-growing areas such as Eastvale, where many homes were built in the past decade on land where dairy farms sat, are more likely to be racially diverse than older cities that have the legacy of housing discrimination, she said.
Organista, a firefighter with the Chino Valley Independent Fire District, is president of the Eastvale Law Enforcement and Firefighters Association, which has several hundred members. The association estimates there are about 1,500 public-safety officers in the city of about 55,000, Organista said. Many encourage co-workers to move to the city, he said.
A large number of the law-enforcement officers and firefighters work in Los Angeles and Orange counties and like how they can quickly get on the four nearby freeways, he said. Others work at the three nearby prisons.
Public-safety officers do not earn the huge salaries of corporate executives or movie stars. But many earn six-figure incomes with overtime pay.
There are few truly wealthy people in Eastvale. Instead of a collection of trendy boutiques selling $10,000 purses or $200 bottles of wine, chain stores and restaurants such as Staples, Target, McDonald’s and Panda Express are housed in shopping centers that could have been plucked out of many other suburbs.
Eastvale, however, has a higher median income than places that are nationally associated with the rich and famous, such as Beverly Hills and Newport Beach.
But those cities median incomes, are likely brought down by bigger retiree populations and a large number of apartments and condominiums.
Beverly Hills and Newport Beach have more expensive single family homes than Eastvale and a much higher percentage of residents who earn more than $200,000 a year.
Eastvale does not boast many mansions like Beverly Hills but it has no apartment buildings, said city spokeswoman Michelle Nissen. There are some mobile homes but its streets are lined mostly with large, recently built houses and upscale townhouses.
Morris Davis said quiet, low-key Eastvale is exactly what he was looking for.
It is close to work, close to my kids schools, he said. It has everything we need to raise our kids and keep them safe.___
When I am out there and I quote people that number, I get the wow word, said Heidi Gallegos, executive director of the Eastvale Chamber of Commerce. I even said wow when I first heard it.
Residents median household income is an important selling point when trying to lure new businesses to Eastvale because it demonstrates a healthy purchasing power, Gallegos said.
Economist Christopher Thornberg of Los Angeles-based Beacon Economics, a company of economic specialists, said the area of western Riverside County that includes Corona, Norco and Eastvale has been perceived for years as an extension of Orange County.
Highly skilled and highly paid workers from Orange County and Los Angeles gravitate to the Inland area searching for affordable housing, Thornberg said.
There is not a lot of news here. Corona is a prosperous community and Eastvale was always there as well, he said. You are just noticing it now because it became a city.
Income figures for neighboring cities seem to bear that theory out.
Eastvale median family income
Norco, Eastvale next door neighbor to the south, posts a median household income of $80,426. Corona is $79,180.
Patrick Tracy said he believes the heavy concentration of public safety workers living in the city - police officers, deputies, firefighters and correctional officers - who, for the most part, have been shielded from the ravages of the great recession, plays a role in Eastvale robust income figures. Public safety employees regularly earn overtime pay and have job security.
According to Eastvale Law Enforcement and Firefighters, a nonprofit association, more than 1,500 deputies, police, firefighters, correctional officers and other public safety employees live in the city.
Deputy Rob Medrano, a founder of the group, has lived in Eastvale for nine years. Medrano said that when he was looking for a place to put down roots, his brother, also a deputy, pointed him to Eastvale.
I went back to my job and told co-workers there is this new community where you can get more house for your money, and it spread like wildfire, Medrano said.Residents and city officials also say Eastvale schools and parks are a powerful lure for families. Schools in Eastvale, which are part of the Corona-Norco Unified School District, do well academically. For example, they rated high in state Academic Performance Index rankings released last week.