Living in Contra Costa County

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with North State Financial, Inc.
The County of Contra Costa, California was incorporated in 1850 as one of the original 27 counties of the State of California, with the City of Martinez as the County Seat. It is one of the nine counties in the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Area. The County is the ninth most populous county in California, with its population reaching approximately 930,000 as of January 1, 2000. The County has one of the fastest growing work forces among Bay Area counties, with growth in its employment base being driven primarily by the need to provide services to an increasing local population. Due to the presence of relatively high-wage skilled jobs and relatively wealthy residents, the County achieves high rankings among all California counties on a variety of income measurements. A large part of the County is served by the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District ("BART"), which has enabled the expansion of both residential and commercial development. In addition, economic development along the Interstate 680 corridor in the County has been substantial and has accounted for significant job creation in the Cities of Concord, Walnut Creek and San Ramon. Major industries in the County include petroleum refining, telecommunications, financial and retail services, steel manufacturing, prefabricated metals, chemicals, electronic equipment, paper products and food processing. Most of the County's heavy manufacturing is located along the County's northern boundary fronting on the Suisun and San Pablo Bays leading to San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. Descriptions of major employers in selected industries follow.

Availability of a broad transportation network has been one of the major factors in the County's economic and population growth.  Interstate 80 connects the western portion of the County to San Francisco and the central portion of the County to Sacramento and points north to Interstate 5, the major north-south highway from Mexico to Canada.  Interstate 680 connects the central County communities to the rest of the Bay Area and portions of the Central Valley of the State via State Routes 4 and 24, the County's major east-west arteries.

Caltrans is currently widening Interstate 80 in the western portion of the County at a cost of $200 million and constructing replacement spans on the Carquinez Bridge on Interstate Highway 80 and the Benicia - Martinez Bridge on Interstate Highway 680 at a cost of $1.1 billion.Major scheduled airline passenger and freight transportation for County residents is available at either Oakland or San Francisco International Airports, located about 20 and 30 miles, respectively, from the County.  In addition there are two general aviation fields, one at Byron and the other at Concord.

The County is the ninth most populous county in California, with its population reaching approximately 981,600 as of January 1, 2002.  This represents an increase of approximately 22% compared to the County's population in 1990.  The availability of rapid transit, close proximity to major employment hubs in San Francisco and Oakland, and relatively affordable existing and new housing have combined to attract more residents to the County over the past decade.   While population grew in every city in the County during the last decade, population growth has been strongest in unincorporated areas as well as in the eastern portion of the County, particularly in Antioch, Brentwood and Clayton.

Due to the presence of relatively high-wage skilled jobs and relatively high income residents, the County achieves high rankings among all California counties on a variety of income measurements. For example, as reported in the 2000 Sales and Marketing Management Survey of Buying Power, the County's median household effective buying income for the 1999 calendar year of $53,234 was in the top four among all California counties. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce's Bureau of Economic Analysis, the County's per capita personal income of $36,006 in 1998 was the fifth highest among California counties. The medians for the State were $39,492 (1999 household effective buying income) and $28,163 (1998 per capita personal income).

For more information on living or re-locating to Contra Costa County,  please contact Karl Kruger at 925-895-6467, or send an email to karl@northstatefinancial.com   

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