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2010 Census Data Reveals More about Berkeley

By Steven Finacom
Wednesday August 03, 2011 - 01:27:00 PM

The 2010 United States Census has been churning out more information about Berkeley and other California cities. Here’s a breakdown of some of the statistics released so far this year. 


o Berkeley has a total official population of 112,580. 

o Berkeley is reasonably ethnically diverse. A majority (nearly 3 in 5) of residents identify as White, while 1 in 5 are of Asian ancestry, probably partially reflecting the large numbers of Asian-Americans in the undergraduate population at Cal. 

o Only about 1 in 10 are African-American, a drop in both number and percentage from previous decades. Berkeley now has more Hispanic / Latino residents than African-American, but a small margin. 

o Berkeleyans trend fairly young—again, probably reflecting the large numbers of college students in residence in 2010—with the median age at 31 years. 38% of Berkeley residents are between age 15 and 30. (The median age of Californians overall was 35.2.) 

o About 10% of Berkeley residents are under 15 years of age, while about 15% are over age 62. 

o Middle-aged residents are distributed pretty evenly between ages 30 and 60, with no five-year age cohort in that range having a substantially larger, or smaller, number than others. If you’re a Berkeley resident between 30 and 60, about 5-7,000 other locals are within a couple years of your age. 

o While total percentages and numbers are small, Berkeley has one of the largest percentages, and numbers, of same-sex couples in the Bay Area, and double the Statewide percentage of same-sex households. 

o Berkeley also has more than 46,000 households total, with nearly 19,000 of those defined as “family” households (excluding same-sex couples and families). Nearly 11,000 households, total, have children living at home. 

o Berkeley has about 50,000 housing units, with about 45,000 of the total population (around 40%) living in owner-occupied units. About 5,000 of owner-occupied units are free of mortgages; the rest carry housing debt. About 59% of total Berkeley residents are renters. 

Here are some more detailed breakdowns in various demographic areas. 


Because it’s a college town, it’s not unexpected that 32,628 of Berkeley’s residents in 2010 were aged 15 to 24—making up 29% of the total—and another 10,302 (9.2 %) were age 25 to 29. 

That means 38% of Berkeley’s residents—over 42,000—are in the traditional high school through graduate school age range, with the majority of those centered in the college years. 

The large totals of the high school and college age reduce the median Berkeley age for men to 30.2 years, and 32.0 years for women. 

Berkeley has 4,136 children under five years old, 3,793 age 5 to 9, and 3,610 age 10 to 14, meaning about 10.3 percent of locals are under 15. 

Middle-aged residents are fairly evenly distributed by age cohorts. In each five-year age group between the ages of 30 and 60 there are about six or seven thousand locals, altogether equaling about 40 % of the total population. 

Older residents are a much smaller, but still significant, percentage of the population. 16,873, or 15 %, of Berkeleyans are over age 62—the early starting date for Social Security eligibility—and nearly 2,000 of those are older than 85. 


51.1 percent of Berkeley residents are female, 48.9 percent are male. 

Berkeley has slightly more boys than girls in the age 14 and under groups, while woman over age 62 (9,448, total), outnumber men (7,425) in the same age group. 


Residents identifying themselves as White total 66,996, or 59.5 percent of the population. African-Americans total 11,241, or 10 percent, while Hispanic / Latino residents number 12,209, or 10.8 percent. 

After White, Asian-Americans constitute the second largest ethnic / racial group in Berkeley’s population, 21, 690, or 19.3 percent of the total. 

Chinese and Chinese-Americans make up the largest subgroup, by far, with nearly 10,000 or about 8.6 percent of total Berkeley residents. 

I haven’t made any cross comparisons to UC enrollment statistics, but I would guess this reflects the large Asian-American and, in particular, Chinese-American enrollment among undergraduates at UC Berkeley. In that respect, UC student enrollment helps drive ethnic diversity in Berkeley the city. 

For example, in Fall, 2010, new freshman at Cal were 45.7% Asian-American. Numerically, 11,961 of the 35,838 students enrolled were Asian-American. 

If you want to try to drill down into the campus numbers yourself, you can find tables of Fall, 2010 enrollment by ethnicity / race at this address: 



This section comes with one huge caveat. 

The Census considers “family households” as ones that “consist of a householder and one or more other people related to the householder by birth, marriage, or adoption. They do not include same-sex married couples even if the marriage was performed in a state issuing marriage certificates for same-sex couples. Same-sex couples are included in the family households category if there is at least one additional person related to the householder by birth or adoption. Same-sex couple households with no relatives of the householder present are tabulated in non-family households. ‘Non-family households’ consist of people living alone and households which do not have any members related to the householder.” 

Got that? As we knew when the Census announced its modernized methodology in 2009, Berkeley’s same-sex couples are not considered ‘families’ unless a biological or legally adopted child or relative of one member lives in the same household. 

They were counted, however, in a way. 

This is not a particularly small issue in Berkeley, since Statewide Census statistics show that our city has the fourth highest percentage, and third highest number, of self-identified same-sex couples in the Bay Area. 

2.1 percent, or 961 of Berkeley’s households, reported to the Census that they were a same-sex couple. 

Only Guerneville (7.6%), San Francisco (3%), Oakland (2.2%) and Emeryville (2.1%) had larger or equal percentages of same sex households. San Francisco had the largest total—more than 10,000 couples—Oakland had 3,442 couples, and Berkeley had 961 couples. Emeryville and Guerneville, despite their high percentage rankings, are much smaller towns so each had considerably fewer couples. 

Of other near-Berkeley communities, Alameda had 459 couples, or 1.5 percent, Richmond 1.2 percent (427), and Albany 1.7 percent, or 123 couples. El Cerrito had 1.9% or 189 couples. 

Statewide, the Census numbers show that 1% of households are “headed by same-sex partners”, while more than 43.4% of residents don’t live with a spouse or unmarried partner. 49% of households statewide are “husband-wife married couples”. 

That 1% translates into about 126,000 same-sex households statewide. 

So, with all that in mind, Berkeley has 46,029 “total households”, of which 18,792 or 40.8 percent are defined by the Census as “family households”. 7,785 of the “family” households have a child of at least one of the adults (biological or adoptive) at home, for 16.9 percent of the total population. 

13,569 Berkeley households are a “husband-wife family”, with 5,433 of those having children under 18. 

There are 1,368 “male householder, no wife present”, families, with 544 of them raising children, and 3,855 “female householder, no husband present”, with 1,808 of them raising children. 

An interesting, but not necessarily unsurprising, statistic there: well over three times as many single-parent Berkeley families are headed by a woman as by a man. 

18.4 percent of Berkeley households have children under age 18, while 22.2 percent have at least one resident over age 65. 

The average Berkeley household size is 2.17 individuals, and the average “family” size is 2.81 individuals. 

725 of Berkeley’s “family households” contained an “unmarried partner”. Presumably that includes both straight and gay couples where there was at least one biological or adopted child in the household, triggering the “family” definition. 

In the “non-family” households there were 3,167 “unmarried partners” counted. Presumably, all same-sex couples without a biological or adopted relative in the home would fall into that number, although with male / female unmarried partners without children. 

A huge number of Berkeley non-family households—11,876—contained “housemates or roommates”, presumably reflecting the large numbers of college students sharing living group or apartment quarters. 


Berkeley has nearly 50,000 housing units. 18,846, or 40.9 percent of them, are owner-occupied. Those units contain 45,096 of Berkeley’s residents, total. 

29.7 percent of Berkeley’s housing units are owner occupied, with a mortgage or loan. That’s 13,656 homes, presumably most of them single family, although the number of condos in Berkeley did increase in the past decade. 

5,190 fortunate Berkeley homes are owned free and clear of mortgages or loans, representing 11.3 percent of the total households. 

And 27,183 of Berkeley’s households, 59.1 percent, are renters. 

Berkeley has 12,849 residents living in “group quarters”. 419 of those are considered part of the “institutionalized population”. I couldn’t find a definition for “institutionalized”.