Central Contra Costa

Includes : Clayton, Concord, Lafayette, Martinez, Moraga, Orinda, Pleasant Hill, Walnut Creek

The Central Contra Costa region, commonly known as “Central County,” is at the heart of Contra Costa County. It is located in the Diablo Valley at the foot of Mt. Diablo (3,849 feet) and includes a 90,000 acre State Park and some of the most beautiful preserved open space in Northern California. Some of the Bay Area’s most desired residential communities, as well as some of the Bay Area’s most historic are located in Central County. Martinez, the Contra Costa County seat, was a key crossing point over the Carquinez Strait for the Pony Express, and its downtown is notable for the large number of preserved historic buildings.

Demographics

According to the 2010 Census, the Central County region has a population of 323,665, or 12.6% of the East Bay population, making it the most populated region of Contra Costa County. It also has the smallest share of residents under the age of 25 (28.7%), but that is still more than the national rate of 22.8%.

Quality of Life

Central Contra Costa offers a variety of living environments ranging from bucolic small town to historic to urban. The region also boasts some of Northern California’s most desirable residential communities along with some of the top public schools in the state. De La Salle High School, a private Central Contra Costa school, is known not only for its academics but also for its national record 151 game winning streak in football. Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill are excellent examples of transformed downtown centers and have become regional retail destinations. The Lesher Center for the Arts is a major arts destination with over 900 productions and events a year.

Economy

Education

Typical of the East Bay the residents of Central County are very well educated. At 93.2%, they are 7.5% points higher than the national average in graduating from high school. They are 11.7% points higher in Bachelor’s degrees and 7.6% higher in graduate or professional degrees.

Employment

The strongest employment sector in this region is educational and health services with over 30,000 jobs at educational institutions such as Diablo Valley College, John F. Kennedy University and Chapman University. Also located in Central County are state of the art health care providers such as the John Muir/Mt. Diablo Regional Medical Centers in Walnut Creek and Concord, Kaiser Hospital and clinics in Walnut Creek and Martinez, along with the Contra Costa Regional Medical Center and Veterans Administration Hospital in Martinez.

Other important sectors include trade, transportation and utilities (26,021 jobs) and professional and business services (20,088 jobs). Concord is home to an emerging biomedical industry cluster and Walnut Creek is the center of a large financial services group.

Significant employers include: Diablo Valley College, Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, AT&T Services, Cellco Partnership, John Muir Health, California State Automobile Association, Frances Mary Accessories Inc., Contra Costa Newspapers Inc., and Shell Martinez Refining Co.

Infrastructure and Land Use

Most of the population of Central Contra Costa lies along the busy I-680 corridor that connects the North Bay to Silicon Valley. The upscale residential “Lamorinda” communities of Lafayette, Moraga and Orinda connect to much of the East Bay to the west and I-680 to the east using State Route 24, while the region’s urban center, the city of Concord, connects to I-680 using State route 242. Many of businesses in Central County are located in business parks such as Contra Costa Center, Ellinwood and Shadelands.