North Richmond, California

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North Richmond
North Richmond is located in California
North Richmond
North Richmond
Location in California
Coordinates: 37°57′32″N 122°22′03″W / 37.95889°N 122.36750°W / 37.95889; -122.36750Coordinates: 37°57′32″N 122°22′03″W / 37.95889°N 122.36750°W / 37.95889; -122.36750
Country United States
State California
CountyContra Costa
 • County BoardDistrict 1:
John Gioia
 • State SenateNancy Skinner (D)[1]
 • State AssemblyBuffy Wicks (D)[2]
 • U. S. CongressMark DeSaulnier (D)[3]
 • Total1.549 sq mi (4.01 km2)
 • Land1.408 sq mi (3.65 km2)
 • Water0.141 sq mi (0.37 km2)  9.1%
Elevation16 ft (5 m)
 • Total3,717
 • Density2,400/sq mi (930/km2)
Time zoneUTC-8 (PST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s)510, 341
GNIS feature IDs1659249, 2583096

North Richmond is an unincorporated area in Contra Costa County, California, a census-designated place (CDP) with a population of 3,717 adjacent to and nearly surrounded by the city of Richmond.[6][7][8]


The area of North Richmond was populated by Ohlone tribes which settled the area in the 6th century. However, Hokan speaking people may have inhabited the area even earlier, and archaeological evidence shows human settlement to have begun at least by 4000 BC. The Ohlone tribesmen subsisted from hunter-gathering the bountiful amount of land and sea life of the area. Especially the great amounts of seafood made available along the coastline of Castro Cove and the surrounding marshlands and delta of Wildcat and San Pablo creeks. The majority of present-day North Richmond was territory of the Karkin tribe (or Carquinez) however the land lies on what was a border area with the Chocheño tribe and likely had influences of both groups. The tribes made great use of the salmon and trout runs on the rivers. However, today, culverting and damming has decimated the habitat for these species and they are rarely present ever at the opening of the watercourse.

In the early part of the 20th century, North Richmond was populated by Italian-Americans.[9] During World War II, many African-Americans moved from the South and Midwest and came to the Western United States in order to find jobs helping the war effort. Many came to work in Richmond's shipyards and consequently, moved into North Richmond.

Subsequently many of the residents were employed in the petroleum, railway, and shipping industries.[7]

Currently the population is estimated to be about 2,300 by the county of Contra Costa[7] and 2,500 by the Richmond Confidential.[6]


The 2010 United States Census[10] reported that North Richmond had a population of 3,717. The population density was 2,399.6 people per square mile (926.5/km2). The racial makeup of North Richmond was 1,239 (33.3%) African American, 634 (17.1%) White, 431 (11.6%) Asian, 23 (0.6%) Native American, 18 (0.5%) Pacific Islander, 1,191 (32.0%) from other races, and 181 (4.9%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1,862 persons (50.1%).

The Census reported that 100% of the population lived in households.

There were 1,027 households, out of which 551 (53.7%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 412 (40.1%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 271 (26.4%) had a female householder with no husband present, 95 (9.3%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 86 (8.4%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 4 (0.4%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 184 households (17.9%) were made up of individuals, and 70 (6.8%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.62. There were 778 families (75.8% of all households); the average family size was 4.02.

The population was spread out, with 1,152 people (31.0%) under the age of 18, 456 people (12.3%) aged 18 to 24, 1,187 people (31.9%) aged 25 to 44, 712 people (19.2%) aged 45 to 64, and 210 people (5.6%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 29.0 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.7 males.

There were 1,237 housing units at an average density of 798.6 per square mile (308.3/km2), of which 1,027 were occupied, of which 471 (45.9%) were owner-occupied, and 556 (54.1%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 4.4%; the rental vacancy rate was 14.6%. 1,692 people (45.5% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 2,025 people (54.5%) lived in rental housing units.


The West Contra Costa Housing Authority of Contra Costa County is located in North Richmond. The area is policed by the Contra Costa County Sheriff's department. The community is governed by the county of Contra Costa and the current representative is supervisor John Gioia.[7]

At a community level the town does not have a city council or its own neighborhood councils.[11] North Richmond does, though, have a community council that represents the resident's voices at the county level, known as the North Richmond Municipal Advisory Council.[11]

Richmond has considered annexing North Richmond several times since the 1960s.[12] In fall 2011, the neighboring city of San Pablo conducted a telephone opinion poll of San Pablo residents. Among other items, the poll sought to assess San Pablo citizens' opinions on the possibility of the City of San Pablo annexing unincorporated North Richmond. Reasons cited included the opportunity for North Richmond residents to have direct representation and also give San Pablo waterfront access to San Pablo Bay.[13]


Sports such as baseball and basketball are important activities in the neighborhood, especially for young men. Baseball is played at the North Richmond Ballfield Complex and at Shields-Reid Park. Baseball has been a long tradition here and has been played by residents for decades. The Bay Area's Hyphy scene also resonates in this community, especially among many young people who aspire to be rappers and singers. Hip hop, Rap, and R&B music, as with many areas densely populated by African Americans, is prominent among the area's youth.


This area is served by AC Transit bus lines 76, 71, and 376, that connect the community with Richmond BART & Amtrak station, Contra Costa College in San Pablo, and Hilltop Mall in addition to other areas of west county.[14] The line 376 is an owl service, and due to several assaults and other crimes committed on board during 2010 the bus is now escorted by a county sheriff's vehicle while inside town limits.[15] In fact, many bus drivers refuse to work this line because of how dangerous it can be.[14][15] Richmond Parkway, a connector between I-580 at Point Richmond and I-80 at the Hilltop area, runs through the west of North Richmond.[14]


The area is notable for having one of the highest per-capita homicide rates in the nation. Coupled with the highest homicide rate, citizens have complained that law enforcement is ineffective in dealing with shootings in their community and that killers are almost never brought to justice.[16]


North Richmond is next to Chevron Richmond Refinery in Richmond's Point Richmond District. The public health risks associated with emissions and chemical spills, especially of sulfur trioxide, are major concerns for the entire area. A community warning system of loud sirens is in place to warn residents of chemical spills. This warning is tested on the first Wednesday of every month, and can be heard from miles away. The Richmond dump is also in a tiny strip of Richmond that runs through North Richmond.

The landfill pays into a mitigation fund used for community projects to offset how blight and pollution impact the town.[8] In 2011 $56,000 were granted out of a $100,000 budget to building community gardens on vacant lots leased to the volunteer effort.[8] The project aims to provide education and training for the cultivation and eating of healthful vegetables.[8] Although the gardens will provide otherwise unavailable produce, North Richmonders still have to go to San Pablo or Richmond areas for groceries.[8]


North Richmond has an extensive industrial history. Today, an important industry in this town is Action Recycling, which purchases bulk scrap metal in addition to more traditional plastics, bottles, cans, and cardboard from patrons.[17] The community is home to many farms and greenhouses; thousands of flowers both within and surrounding these greenhouses can be seen from the Richmond Parkway.

There are very few commercial businesses in the town but there are two small grocers and a liquor store remaining.[6]

A Native American tribe, the Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians of Lake County, has proposed and received approval for Sugar Bowl Casino on a 28-acre (≈11 hectare) site that they have purchased. Although some local clergy have allegedly expressed feelings of disapproval, the impoverished community has generally welcomed the project as a potentially good source of revenue. The tribe's proposal includes an outreach program that focuses on the similarity between the struggles of their own people and that of African Americans.

The county government has plans to improve the community with new mixed use residential developments on brownfields, new businesses, parks and open spaces.[18]

There are currently no restaurants or markets in the town.[19] The city of Richmond's redevelopment agency and Contra Costa County have been trying to revitalize the community's main road, Fred Jackson Way (formerly 3rd and Filbert Streets).[20] In 2010 a thirty-six town home development was under construction to provide ultra low income housing that is planned to be kept affordable over time through a low equity scheme.[20]

A county assessment has stated that the town is ideal for warehousing businesses due to its strategic location between Marin County, Sacramento, and the Silicon Valley in addition to its easy access to major freeways, railways, and an available workforce with affordable housing.[7]

North Richmond is home to the Las Deltas Projects, a crime ridden and dilapidated public housing complex for 224 households.[21] The county wishes to demolish it in favor of a mixed-income village but does not have the funds.[21] In its current state Las Deltas puts the county $600,000 in the red every year and has a 30% vacancy rate.[21]

See also[edit]

Casino Proposals


  1. ^ "Senators". State of California. Retrieved March 30, 2013.
  2. ^ "Members Assembly". State of California. Retrieved March 30, 2013.
  3. ^ "California's 11th Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC. Retrieved March 30, 2013.
  4. ^ "2010 Census U.S. Gazetteer Files – Places – California". United States Census Bureau.
  5. ^ "North Richmond". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey.
  6. ^ a b c In North Richmond, little market spells ‘community’. Robert Rogers. Richmond Confidential. 20-01-2011. Retrieved 21-01-2011.
  7. ^ a b c d e North Richmond Overview Archived 2011-01-15 at the Wayback Machine. Contra Costa County Redevelopment, CDBG, Housing and Finance. 2011. Retrieved 22-01-2011.
  8. ^ a b c d e North Richmond garden project nourishes bodies and spirits. Richmond Confidential. 08-02-2011. Retrieved 19-02-2011.
  9. ^ Images of America: Richmond, by Donald Bastin, Arcadia Publishing (SC), November 2003
  10. ^ "2010 Census Interactive Population Search: CA - North Richmond CDP". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on July 15, 2014. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
  11. ^ a b North Richmond Municipal Advisory Council Archived 2009-11-11 at the Wayback Machine. Calendar. Contra Costa County website. 2011. 08-02-2011.
  12. ^ "Part 8: North Richmond, where the city's boundaries end". Richmond Confidential. August 10, 2011.
  13. ^ "Tracking Survey: Needs Analysis & Funding Feasibility Study" (pdf). November 2011.
  14. ^ a b c AC Transit System Map, AC Transit website, access date October 12, 2008
  15. ^ a b North Richmond bus line gets police escort. Ted Trautman. Richmond Confidential. 24-02-2011. Retrieved 06-03-2011.
  16. ^ "North Richmond: Most killings go unsolved in tiny enclave". The Mercury News. 5 April 2014.
  17. ^ About Company. Action Recycling. 2011. Retrieved 22-01-2011.
  18. ^ Changing North Richmond, by Katherine Tam, West County Times, 30-01-2009
  19. ^ North Richmond Striving to Overcome the Past. Richmond Confidential.
  20. ^ a b Community and Economic Development Agency Monthly Status Report Archived 2011-05-05 at the Wayback Machine. November 2010. Retrieved 22-01-2011.
  21. ^ a b c North Richmond housing projects’ days may be numbered. Robert Rogers. Richmond Confidential. 01-03-2011. Retrieved 06-03-2011.

External links[edit]