If the newest census figures are to be believed, Berkeley’s population has scarcely grown in 10 years. But the population has shifted.
While the census counted 102, 724 residents in 1990, it counted 102,743 in 2000.
The most dramatic change is the apparent shrinkage of the black community, from almost 19 percent to about 13.6 percent and the growth of the Hispanic community, from almost 8 percent to about 10 percent. The Asian population increased from 14.7 percent to 16.3 percent and the Caucasian community decreased from 62 to 59 percent.
“We started seeing anecdotal evidence,” said Tim Stroshane, senior planner in the housing department. “We were seeing more elderly African Americans selling their properties. Some had owned it for 40 years.”
The only information currently available is the total population and breakdown by race for Berkeley. Detailed information such as the age of the population, its economic status and how it is housed is not available.
“We won’t know the absolute answers until one year from now,” Stroshane said.
Giving an educated guess, however, Stroshane said he thinks the city has seen a shift in age and housing modalities. “The median age is going up,” he said. As for housing, new construction has been multifamily dwellings along transportation corridors.
The housing is “higher density,” he said. “There are more people in a smaller space.”
As detailed data emerges, more will be know about the ethnic composition of the city. A new category this year allowed people to check a multi-racial box. It will not be known until later, what ethnicities these individuals identify themselves as.
Another interesting question to pose is where Berkeley students said they were living. The census asked where the individual was on April 1, 2000. On that date, many students were on spring break – with their parents. Stroshane said he thinks most students would not take the question literally and if they lived in Berkeley most the year, would probably write in their Berkeley address.
City council watchers will also have their eyes on population shifts within council districts. Based on an analysis of these figures, districts will be reconfigured according to the loss or gain in population.