In 2004, there were approximately 17,354 full-time residents in Big Bear (up from 16,700 in 2000) and approximately 7,112 total households (up from 6,861 in 2000). Approximately 60% of the population is considered Rural Resort Dwellers and are defined by ESRI Business Information Systems to be residents that follow the scenic route, prefer pastoral settings, drive four-wheel drive trucks, bake and prepare home-cooked meals, participate in local civic issues, and like to read about fishing, hunting and home improvement.
The average household size in 2004 was 2.44 persons and the median household income was $40,276, up from $35,765 in 2000. Per capital income also increased to $23,469 in 2004, from $20,280 in 2000.
Big Bear is a resort community and as a result the majority of housing in Big Bear is owned as a second home. Of the total 20,352 housing units, approximately 65.1% are vacant (second homes), 25.2% are owner occupied, and 9.7% are renter occupied. The median home value was $207,425 in 2004 with an average value of $262,416, compared to $134,947 and 171,289 in 2000, respectively.
Future population and economic growth is expected to outpace that of the past based upon the forecasted growth for the Inland Empire (both San Bernardino and Riverside Counties). The Inland Empire remains one of the fastest growing regions in the nation. Out of the 3,100 counties in the nation, Riverside ranked 3rd and San Bernardino ranked 6th in terms of absolute population growth between 2001 and 2002.
Travel (hotel and amusement) and retail are by far the largest business segments in Big Bear, accounting for 29.8% and 28.0% of Big Bear’s 2000 employment, respectively. Combined, these two segments account for 58% of Big Bear’s 2000 employment. These segments also experienced the largest employment gains from 1991-2000, indicating the fastest growing segments. The travel segment gained 560 employees during the 10-year period, with retail gaining 373. The next largest growth occurred in the finance/real estate segments with a gain of 128. Approximately 64% of all job growth from 1991-2000 occurred in the travel and retail segments.