Riverside is a city in Riverside County, California, United States, located in the Inland Empire metropolitan area. It is named for its location next to the Santa Ana River. Riverside County is included in the Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario Metropolitan Statistical Area, also known as the Inland Empire, and the Los Angeles-Long Beach Combined Statistical Area. The county covers 7,208 square miles (18,670 km) in Southern California, stretching from the Los Angeles metropolitan area to the Arizona border.
It has a Mediterranean climate in the western part and is mostly desert in the central and eastern parts. Most of Joshua Tree National Park is located in the county and it is home to resort towns such as Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, La Quinta, Rancho Mirage and Desert Hot Springs. When Riverside County was formed in 1893, it was named after the city of Riverside, which was founded in 1870 and received its name because of its location next to the Santa Ana River. The indigenous peoples of what is now Riverside County are the Luiseño, Cupeño and Cahuilla Indians.
The Luiseño territory includes the Aguanga and Temecula basins, the Elsinore Depression and the eastern Santa Ana Mountains and south to San Diego County. The Cahuilla territory is located east and north of Luiseño, in the interior valleys, in the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto mountains and the Salton Sink Desert. Riverside County was created out of parts of San Bernardino County and San Diego County in 1893. In that same year, seventy percent of voters approved the formation of Riverside County with Riverside as its county seat by a wide margin. The first European settlement in the county was a ranch or farm of the Saint Louis King Mission of France in the Luiseño village of Temescal.
Leandro Serrano was granted permission to occupy this land for grazing and agriculture purposes and established Rancho Temescal. Riverside County has 12 federally recognized Indian reservations linking it to Sandoval County, New Mexico by being the second county in the United States with two co-use areas shared between reserves. There is a diversity of flora and fauna within Riverside County with vegetative plant associations having desert flora but also wooded areas within the county. California's endemic blue oak, Quercus douglasii, is found in the southernmost part of its range in Riverside County.
In terms of population demographics, there were 30.3 per cent under 18 years old, 9.2 per cent from 18 to 24 years old, 28.9 per cent from 25 to 44 years old, 18.9 per cent from 45 to 64 years old and 12.7 per cent aged 65 and over with a median age of 33 years old. For every 100 women there were 99.1 men and for every 100 females age 18 and older there were 96.8 men. The municipal departments within Riverside County are Banning, Beaumont, Blythe, Calimesa, Cathedral City, Corona, Desert Hot Springs, Hemet, Indio, Menifee, Murrieta, Palm Springs and Riverside Community College. Amtrak trains stop at Riverside and Palm Springs with Amtrak California offering bus connections to San Joaquins at Riverside, Beaumont, Palm Springs, Thousand Palms, Indio Moreno Valley Perris Sun City and Hemet.
Riverside County was an important focal point for civil rights movements in the United States especially for African-American sections of Riverside and heavily Mexican-American communities of Coachella Valley visited by Cesar Chavez of agricultural union struggle. Proposition 8 which amended California Constitution to prohibit same-sex marriages was approved by 64.8% of voters in Riverside County. These beautiful neighborhoods are more affordable than other California communities with The Riverside County Sheriff providing judicial protection prison administration and forensic services for all of Riverside County. When California's initial 27 counties were established in 1850 the area now known as Riverside County was divided between Los Angeles County and San Diego County with The Riverside Marketplace area located in westernmost part off Riverside Highway (9).
Riverside County is organized as a general law county under provision of California Government Code.