RIVCOconnect - Our Residents
When you’re speaking about the people who live in Riverside County, you have to keep in mind that there are a lot of us – almost 2.4 million people. We are the tenth most populous county in the US and outnumber the populations of fifteen other states. We live in a 7,400 square mile landmass almost the size of New Jersey and we can be found in urban, suburban and rural locations.
So who are We, the Residents
of Riverside County? What do We look
like, and Where do We live?
We live in the desert, the mountains, in communities large and small, on Tribal Reservations and planned developments. We are widely diverse in race and ancestry. We are 47.9% Hispanic, 36.6% Caucasian, 6.2% Asian and 6% African-American. 78% of us are native-born and 22% have come to live here from another country. 60% of our households speak English only at home, with 40% communicating in their native language. We are young and old, with 7% being five years old and younger, 23% in the K-12 age range, 33% are 20 to 44 years of age, 19% are 45 to 60, and the remaining 18% are seniors over 60. In short, Riverside County does not look very different from the rest of the USA.
In order to foster equal education for all, ubiquitous broadband is a must in order to ensure students anywhere can gain access to the internet to complete their studies and have equal opportunities for success.
What is our quality of life?
The household income levels for the County of Riverside fall incrementally across a wide spectrum. The median income for the roughly 715,000 households is $58,300, with the average (mean) income being $80,600. Yet 17% reside below the poverty line and a full quarter of the households fall below $35,000. 13.5% earn $75-100,000, with the top 5% of the County’s households making over $200,000 per year. The April, 2017 unemployment figures indicate 4.7% of our workers are seeking employment (Source: US Dept of Labor). Of the residents who are fully employed, 20% of them works in the Education, Health, and Social Services industries. Another 17% are in manufacturing and construction, 13% work in retail, 11% are in hospitality, 10% are professionals, and 5% work in transportation. The largest employer in the County is the County itself.
66% of our homes are owner-occupied and have an average value of $378,000. But to live here is not to say that we work here. We are a population of commuters, with an average time on the road being 31 minutes. Of all commuters, 18.8% of them (170,379 households) have commutes that take over an hour to get to work.
Our levels of education (for residents 25 years and older) also fall across a wide swath of options. Of these 1.4 million residents, 20% have no high school diploma. 26% do have a diploma or GED, and 21% possess a college or graduate degree. The remaining third have either an Associate’s Degree, technical certificate or simply some college credits but no degree.
Half of the population of adults is currently married, with another 13% being separated, divorced or widowed and another 27% having never been married.
And Internet access? Nearly 100,000 of our residents – roughly 4% of the population – lack high speed broadband service.
Even though the State of California has started programs with our carriers to offer low cost internet to qualifying households, it is still governments responsibility to ensure that all County residents can afford to have internet access at home if the carriers refuse to offer.
Riverside County residents are not out of the ordinary. We look for opportunities to improve our lives and the lives of our children. We seek educational opportunities to better provide for our families and lead richer, more satisfying lives.
Better education leads to better economic opportunities and will lead to improved conditions for our children as they grow.
We seek better access to health care and wellness support. We seek better access to senior care.
Our residents work hard and deserve better access to entertainment, and not the 20th-century model of programmed TV content and bundled channels. We want to stream video and music and want our entertainment on demand and on the go.
Similarly, we seek better access to friends, family, and community. Our families and friends are oftentimes scattered and far-flung, and we need better ways to stay in touch with them, to share news and stories, and we strive to connect to our local communities for services, employment, and activities. And we commute, spending precious hours on the road that could be better spent with loved ones.
Needs & Goals
The residents of Riverside County have an immediate need for better and more affordable Broadband Internet. But why?
The question being asked by the large population of workers who sit in daily freeway traffic is,
“How can I lessen the time I spend on the road?”
One answer is increased broadband speed and capacity.
High speed broadband services can bring about new innovations in telecommuting, teleconferencing, and linking work spaces and places in such a way that we bring people closer to their homes, families and communities. This important action substantially improves our individual and shared quality of life by lowering levels of automotive pollutants, relieving the crush of traffic on our congested roads and freeways, and engaging home-bound community members who can provide services for global employers.
Riverside County is looking to bring more jobs with high speed broadband opportunities since the number of graduates with skills and internet knowledge is growing. We believe more businesses will be attracted to this region due to the abundant pool of talented workers.
Health & Wellness
New advances in telehealth and wellness services can allow our residents to access their doctors and other healthcare providers remotely, taking cars off the road and letting patients get needed access to care in the comfort and privacy of their homes or neighborhood clinics. This is especially helpful for our seniors, for those convalescing, and for those battling long-term or permanent ailments and disabilities that limit their ability to travel.
Those within our community who receive social services traditionally must visit government offices. The ability to connect with these providers remotely reduces the costs and speeds the delivery of these vital services to community, improving the ability of recipients to submit, update and receive important communications regarding their claims.
Access to Entertainment
Cable TV boxes and bundled channels are becoming as much a thing of the past as the VCR and rotary dial telephone. Our residents want to stream their entertainment content on a variety of devices and desire to take it with them anywhere they go.
Video still comes to us from traditional providers such as Charter, Frontier and AT&T, but is now also provided by Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and other streaming service providers. We stream our music over Pandora, Apple and Spotify and can have anywhere from one to ten devices accessing different streaming services simultaneously within a single household. But to do all of these we need high speed broadband!
And for those facing the challenges of the Digital Divide, accessing streaming video services may provide a lower cost entertainment option than traditional services or alternative activities.
Staying Connected to Friends & Family
Broadband is critical to staying connected.
Modern air travel has helped to disperse families and friends throughout the country and around the globe. We are spread across cities, states, nations and continents. The ability to connect via social media, internet calling, texting and instant messaging on Facebook, Skype or FaceTime brings us back together in ways that didn't exist for prior generations.
The ability to see, speak and interact with loved ones online has allow soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines to connect to their families while deployed defending our nation.
We share images of the grandchildren with grandparents, we share memories and celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and other special events. We relay the latest news from home, little league game, live event, concerts and graduation.
And more and more, we share our lives with one another on the Internet and through broadband services.
Staying Connected to Community
Broadband is now a utility that is expected within every home, business and institution, just as water, sewer and power are required for any community.
Riverside County residents need better access to our local communities as well. This includes access to government services; to banking and online bill-payments; to news outlets and local bulletin boards; to keep abreast of local events and elections; to better participate in school activities such as lesson and homework submitting and performing research; to seek employment opportunities; and to make airline and hotel reservations to name but a few. All this and much more requires Broadband connectivity.
Staying connected is an essential element of life for Riverside County! Our residents – young and old, rich and poor, native and immigrant require high speed broadband services.
2015 US Census Data, https://datausa.io
2014 US Census Data, http://www.rivcoeda.org/ under the Demographics tab
https://datausa.io based upon 2015 US Census figures
http://www.rivcoeda.org/ under the Demographics tab, based on 2014 US Census figures
US Department of Labor, April 2017 figures
California Emerging Technology Fund, 2015 Report. http://www.cetfund.org/progress/annualsurvey
Pew Research Center Fact-sheet - http://www.pewinternet.org/2011/10/04/social-media-and-civic-life/
Pew Research Center Fact-sheet - http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheet/social-media/
Nielsen Report - http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/reports/2017/2016-nielsen-social-media-report.html
Pew Research Center's Home Broadband 2015 Report, broadband entertainment