Introduction to Richmond, California

Richmond is in Contra Costa County. It's 12 miles northeast of San Francisco, although it is 16 miles over the roads. The two cities are separated by San Francisco Bay. Richmond lies along Interstate 80. It is also at the eastern end of Interstate 580, which connects it by bridge with San Rafael, a city that lies just 10 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

The city is served by two major airports and one with limited scheduled passenger service. All are within 28 miles of the city. Several bus lines provide service. A combined railway station provides access to BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit District) and AMTRAK, which provides inter city passenger rail service across the United States.

Richmond History

Esselen Indians lived in the area about 5,000 years ago until the Ohlone Indians displaced them some time before 500 A.D. In 1823 Mexico granted 17,000 acres of land in present day Contra Costa County to Don Francisco Castro. Part of this land grant, named Rancho San Pablo, became the city of Richmond. As with other Californian Ranchos which gave birth to cities, San Pablo was first used for agricultural on a grand scale. It then evolved into commercial, industrial and residential use as it was divided into ever smaller parcels of land.

By 1900 the Santa Fe Railroad had established its western terminus in Richmond. This was a convenient location because passengers traveling to San Francisco from the east could simply board a ferry for the final leg across San Francisco Bay. This saved the expense of constructing tracks all the way around the bay. The railroad attracted other activity, and soon the Standard Oil Company (now called Chevron), Stauffer Chemical, Pullman Palace Car and others built industrial facilities here. The dredging of a deep water harbor in the 1920s was instrumental in attracting the Ford Motor Assembly Plant in 1931.

World War II brought a massive shipbuilding effort at the Kaiser Shipyards and a four fold population increase from 1941 to 1943. After the shipyard closed in 1945, a population decrease of 30% occurred between 1947 and 1960. Vacant space was filled to a large extent by warehousing and distribution operations, for example those of Ford Parts Depot, International Harvester, Safeway and United Grocers.

In a story familiar to many cities, Richmond's downtown has lost economic vitality to the Hilltop Mall Regional Shopping Center. But like many cities, the industrial decline at the waterfront has given birth to a mixed use area with the unmatchable attraction of the water's edge. As part of the Harbour Redevelopment Project, begun in the mid 1970s, a 350 acre master-planned Marina Bay development has risen on the site of the wartime shipbuilding industry. When completed it will consist of 2,100 homes, two thirds of a million square feet of commercial space, a marina for 1,500 pleasure boats, parks, lagoons and promenades.

Arts and Leisure

Four of Richmond's main Cultural organizations are:

  • The Richmond Art Center which contains 5,000 square feet of gallery space and a courtyard for sculpture. Its educational and outreach programs have included artist studio tours and a large community mural project involving 30 organizations.
  • The East Bay Center for the Performing Arts (EBCPA) which was founded in 1968 under the name of the East Bay Music Center. It was begun by five area teachers as a response to the assassination of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King and the violence that followed. Since then it has expanded by adding dance, theater and film making. Original works for theatrical and film, produced by its staff and students, total more than 42.
  • The Richmond Museum of History presents the prehistoric and modern stories which one would normally expect of a local museum. But its highlight is the last surviving Victory Ship from World War II, which was built in 1944 at the Kaiser Shipyards, and which is currently being restored.
  • The Masquer's is a community Playhouse which celebrated it's 50th anniversary in 2005. The main season consists of at least five productions each year, both musicals and plays. A special program is dedicated to less mainstream productions.


The city sponsors adult, youth and senior activities at a dozen locations. Adult activities include fitness, aerobics, softball, volleyball and water sports. The youth programs include soccer, tennis, baseball, volleyball, water sports and martial arts.

Richmond continues to build and maintain its section of the Bay Trail, a 400-500 mile hiking trail encircling the San Pablo and San Francisco Bays. The city has the most trail distance of any city along the route.


Total Population 107,597
Male Share of the Population 48.4%
Female Share of the Population 51.6%
Senior Citizens 11.1%
Employed Population 16+ 48,069
Age of the Population 35


% of people married 40.3%
Average household size 3

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 25.7%
Median Earnings25+ $33,839
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $21,188
Median Earnings With High School Degree $27,220


Median Family Income $59,624
% Above Poverty Level 82.5%
% Below Poverty Level 17.5%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 33 minutes
% Working from Home 3.3%
% Walking and Biking to Work 3%
% Using Public Transportation 14%


People Living Alone 28.3%
Median Gross Rent $1,205
Median House Value $296,600


Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 75.2%
US/American 0.1%
English 2.6%
Irish 3%

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Richmond Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Large City 10 miles NW of Oakland, California
County Contra Costa
Standard Zip Codes 94530, 94801, 94803, 94804, 94805, 94806, 94850
P.O. Box Zip Codes 94802, 94807, 94808, 94820
Company Zip Codes 94875
Phone Area Codes 510
Time Zone Pacific (-8 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 37.935
Longitude -122.346

Richmond Climate

Nearest Weather Stations


  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Distance 6.5 miles
Jan Temp 44 to 56 F
Apr Temp 49 to 64 F
Jul Temp 55 to 70 F
Oct Temp 54 to 70 F
Annual Precip 25.4 inches
Distance 10.4 miles
Jan Temp 45 to 57 F
Apr Temp 51 to 66 F
Jul Temp 57 to 73 F
Oct Temp 55 to 72 F
Annual Precip 22.9 inches
Distance 12.6 miles
Jan Temp 46 to 58 F
Apr Temp 50 to 65 F
Jul Temp 54 to 68 F
Oct Temp 55 to 70 F
Annual Precip 22.2 inches

Neighborhood and Nearby Area Names

According to the US Postal Service, Richmond, its neighborhoods, and/or surrounding areas are also referred to as:

Hilltop Mall (94806)

North Richmond (94801)

Point Richmond (94801)

Note that not all alternate names are acceptable for use in US Post Office addresses.

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Population Median Family Income
Albany 19,249 $90,680
Berkeley 117,384 $118,190
El Cerrito 24,418 $105,345
Hercules 24,838 $113,658
Pinole 18,922 $79,129
San Pablo 29,777 $47,871

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Richmond Public Libraries

Richmond Public Library
Richmond, California
(510) 620-6555

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Richmond High Schools

(Sorted by Number of Students)

1250 23RD ST.
A Title I School.
Serves 1,814 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 22.2

Serves 1,424 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 23

A Title I School.
Serves 1,003 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 21.5

A Charter School.
Serves 142 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 31.6

A Non-traditional School
A Title I School.
Serves 115 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 11.3

A Non-traditional School
A Title I School.
Serves 97 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 24.3

1250 23RD ST.
A Non-traditional School
A Title I School.
Serves 84 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 42

A Non-traditional School
Serves 72 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 24

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