Castro Valley is a census-designated place (CDP) in Alameda County, California, United States. As of the 2000 census, it is the fifth most populous unincorporated area in California, and the twenty-third in the United States. The population was 61,388 at the 2010 census.
Castro Valley is named after Don Guillermo Castro, who was a soldier in the Mexican army and a rancher.
First known for chicken ranches, Castro Valley eventually became a bedroom community.
Before the arrival of European settlers the area was settled by the Chocheño (also spelled Chochenyo or Chocenyo) subdivision of the Ohlone Native Americans.
With the arrival of Europeans, Castro Valley was part of the land granted to Mission San Jose in 1797. The area Castro Valley now occupies was part of the extensive colony of New Spain in what was the state of Alta California.
Castro Valley was part of the original 28,000 acre (110 km²) land grant given to Castro, called Rancho San Lorenzo. This land grant included Hayward, San Lorenzo, and Castro Valley, including Crow Canyon, Cull Canyon, and Palomares Canyons. Castro had a gambling habit and had to sell off portions of his land to pay gambling debts. The last of his holding was sold in a sheriff’s sale in 1864 to Faxon Atherton for $400,000.
Atherton (after whom the city of Atherton is named) in turn began selling off his portion in smaller parcels. Two gentlemen named Cull (the namesake of Cull Canyon) and Luce bought some 2,400 acres (10 km²) and began running a steam-operated saw mill in Redwood Canyon. The Jensen brothers also bought land from Atherton in 1867.
During the 1940s and 1950s, Castro Valley was known for its chicken ranches. Later it developed into a bedroom community, where workers live and commute to their jobs in the surrounding communities.
The 2010 United States Census] reported that 61,388 people, 22,348 households, and 16,112 families resided in the CDP. The population density was 3,690.3 people per square mile (1,424.8/km²). There were 23,392 housing units at an average density of 1,382.6 per square mile (533.8/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 58.0% White (49.5% non-Hispanic), 6.9% African American (6.6% non-Hispanic), 0.5% Native American, 21.4% Asian, 0.7% Pacific Islander, 6.1% from other races, and 6.3% from two or more races. 17.4% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race.
The Census reported that 98.0% of the population lived in households, 0.4% lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 1.5% were institutionalized.
There were 22,348 households out of which 36.1% had children under the age of 18 living in them, 54.3% were opposite-sex married couples living together, 12.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 5.2% had a male householder with no wife present. 5.0% of households were unmarried opposite-sex partnerships and 1.0% were same-sex married couples or partnerships. 21.7% of households were made up of individuals and 8.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.69 and the average family size was 3.15.
The population was spread out with 23.4% under the age of 18, 7.6% aged 18 to 24, 24.5% aged 25 to 44, 31.1% aged 45 to 64, and 13.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41.2 years. For every 100 females there were 94.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.0 males.
There were 23,392 housing units of which 69.0% were owner-occupied and 31.0% were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.3%; the rental vacancy rate was 5.4%. 68.8% of the population lived in owner-occupied housing units and 29.2% lived in rental housing units.
Interstate 580, which approaches from the east, makes a turn northward at Castro Valley. Interstate 238, which originates in Castro Valley, connects I-580 to Interstate 880. In addition to being served by those two freeways, Castro Valley is served with public transportation by bus system AC Transit, and rapid transit system BART with a station.
Historically, Castro Valley Boulevard was part of the first transcontinental highway system, the Lincoln Highway
Castro Valley is served by the Castro Valley Unified School District. Overall, the district contains almost 9,000 students. The main high school is Castro Valley High School with over 2,900 students. Castro Valley also has Redwood High School, an alternative high school with approximately 193 students in 2005. The school district includes the Castro Valley Adult School.
There is also a Roman Catholic school, called Our Lady of Grace (K-8), which is part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland. Redwood Christian Schools has one elementary school (K-5) Redwood Christian Elementary.