El Cerrito (formerly Rust) is a city in Contra Costa County, California, United States. The population was 23,171 at the 2000 census. El Cerrito was founded by refugees from the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. They settled in a village in what was then Don Victór Castro's Rancho San Pablo. The settlers called their refugee camp Rust which later turned into a village. In 1917 it was eventually incorportated and named after founded by and named after Wilhelm F. Rust (a German immigrant) with 1,500 residents. Rust residents did not care for the name and later changed it to El Cerrito.
El Cerrito is bordered by Albany and Kensington to the south, Richmond to the west, East Richmond Heights to the north, and Wildcat Canyon Regional Park to the east. In addition, El Cerrito is within 150 meters (500 ft) of Berkeley to the southeast.
El Cerrito Plaza is the largest shopping center in the city; containing Trader Joe's and Albertsons supermarkets, several restaurants, a Barnes & Noble bookstore, Petco pet store, Bed Bath & Beyond housewares store, Longs Drugs pharmacy and market in addition to many other stores and boutiques. The shopping center is surrounded by other commercial and shopping businesses along San Pablo Avenue and Fairmount Avenue respectively, including fast food and an ACE Hardware store. The Cerrito Theater, which for years was a furniture store, has been restored into a hybrid restaurant/movie theatre rechristened the speakeasy. The vintage restored Cerrito Theater signs remain; this theatre has become a big hit in the Bay Area and has been featured in many local newspapers to rave reviews.
El Cerrito has an array of recreational parks. Most notable is Huber Park located on Terrace Drive. Cerrito Vista Park, located on Moeser Lane and Pomona Avenue, is home to the El Cerrito High School Baseball team. Residents can also enjoy the 80-acre tree-line Hillside Park open space.
Creedence Clearwater Revival, including John Fogerty and Tom Fogerty, grew up in El Cerrito and played their last concert at El Cerrito High School. The Bay Area tenure of Metallica started out in El Cerrito. Drew Gooden, who plays forward for the Cleveland Cavaliers, also went to El Cerrito High School. During his tenure, the basketball team went to and lost in the state basketball final.
As of the censusGR2 of 2000, there were 23,171 people, 10,208 households, and 5,971 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,451.1/km² (6,356.5/mi²). There were 10,462 housing units at an average density of 1,106.7/km² (2,870.1/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 57.79% White, 8.54% Black or African American, 0.50% Native American, 24.38% Asian, 0.25% Pacific Islander, 3.06% from other races, and 5.48% from two or more races. 7.93% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 10,208 households out of which 20.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.4% were married couples living together, 9.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.5% were non-families. 30.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.25 and the average family size was 2.81.
In the city the population was spread out with 15.9% under the age of 18, 6.7% from 18 to 24, 31.2% from 25 to 44, 25.7% from 45 to 64, and 20.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 89.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.6 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $57,253, and the median income for a family was $69,397. Males had a median income of $50,316 versus $40,866 for females. The per capita income for the city was $32,593. About 3.5% of families and 6.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.9% of those under age 18 and 3.9% of those age 65 or over.