HAYWARD, Calif. — Longtime residents might not notice it, but there are a lot fewer Caucasians in Hayward, as census data shows a significant shift in the demographics of the I-880 corridor in the East Bay.
Cal State East Bay Professor Emeritus Benjamin Bowser has been studying the issue.
“Ten thousand whites leaving really has to be seen in the context of the larger picture of why they left,” said Bowser.
Census data shows from 2000 to 2010 the white population declined by 10,000.
Bowser says there's a huge demographic shift along the I-880 corridor, driven by the new economy: the new technology boom.
Rising real estate values across the Bay Area are starting to have an effect in places like Hayward and that's driving some residents out.
“Any low income populations are finding it more and more difficult to be on the Bay, near the Bay,” said Bowser. “And the poorer you are the more you're being pushed into the Central Valley and away from the Bay.”
And while many whites are leaving, 20,000 Latinos moved in to Hayward during the same time period, many of them immigrants.
Bowser says they may not be able to stay long.
“It's like a place holder until these properties get, their value goes up enough, then they (Latinos) will be replaced,” said Bowser.
Isabelle Nava knows the story. After 38 years in Hayward she's moving to Oregon to be with family who can help support her.
She says she's sad to go.
“It's where I grew up. To say the least I'm a good old Hayward girl,” said Nava.
Bowser says many middle class tech workers don't want to spend hours in traffic. They want to be close to work, or at least close to BART.
Hayward and other cities along I-880 not only have BART, but housing that's much less expensive than across the Bay.
John Zaro tried to find a home in San Francisco but settled in Oakland.
“If I could have afforded a nice house say in the Duboce Triangle or Outer Mission or something but we looked and pretty much confirmed what we thought already,” said Zaro.
The influx of residents from more expensive properties across the Bay has also brought new businesses.
Renee Knight just moved to Hayward from Virginia a few months ago and has noticed increased activity downtown.
“I've been here since January and I know I've seen at least 5 to 10 new businesses pop up in the downtown area,” said Knight.
Prof. Bowser says it's all part of a transformation in the East Bay that could last many years.
“There are some very good prospects in the long run for not only being in the East Bay,” said Bowser. “But the East Bay is going to be a very different place.”