Fast-growing East County Getting More Diverse

The eastern portion of Contra Costa County is one of the fastest growing areas in the Bay Area, according to new figures released by the U.S. Census on Tuesday. At the same time, the area is starting to look like the rest of the state as more Asians, Latinos and African Americans move to the cities of Pittsburg, Antioch, Oakley and Brentwood.

Speaking from Washington DC where he is representing the county at the National Association of Counties conference, Supervisor Federal Glover said, “This is one of most dynamic growth areas in the state. You can look at it as a glass half-empty or a glass half-full. I tend to be see the latter. Half-empty looks at the negative which translates to more crowding, more traffic and more tension among the diverse groups of people. Half-full means the door is open to more business opportunities, a greater talent pool, new ideas, new cultures and cuisines.”

The new numbers indicate that like the rest of the state, there’s been a marked increase in the Asian and Latino population. Unlike the rest of the Bay Area, East County also shows more African Americans moving to the area. 

“The new people are coming here for the same reasons that attracted many of their predecessors: affordable housing, better housing, newer schools and a safer environment,” said Glover.

The new Census numbers will be used by the County to redraw the districts represented by the five supervisors. With the high growth in eastern Contra Costa, it may mean that the districts represented by Supervisor Glover and District 3 Supervisor Mary Piepho, who represents the southeastern part of the county, may face contraction since all the districts are supposed to be roughly equal in population.

Glover acknowledges that the growing diversity of District V might present a different dynamic. “I will have a broader variety of viewpoints and voices to draw from. I don’t see that as a problem,” said Glover, the first African-American supervisor in the county. “I see that as a resource. That’s so American.”

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