Defying a Bay Area trend, East Palo Alto saw its population decrease by 4.6 percent over the past decade -- a drop precipitated by a shrinking number of black residents, U.S. Census data shows.
The data, which the U.S. Census Bureau released Tuesday (March 8), showed the number of people of one race who identify themselves as black or African-American falling by 30 percent between 2000 and 2010. The city had 6,796 black residents in 2000, but the number dropped to 4,704 in the new census.
Black residents, who made up 23 percent of East Palo Alto's population in 2000, now make up only 16.7 percent of the city, according to the census.
The dramatic drop in the number of black residents drove the city's overall population down despite modest growth within other racial groups and ethnicities. Hispanic and Latino residents saw their number rise from 17,356 to 18,147 over the past decade (a 4.6 percent increase) and they now make up nearly two thirds of the city's population -- 64.5 percent in the new census compared to 58.8 percent 10 years ago.
Statewide, the Hispanic/Latino population surged by 27.8 percent over the past decade, census data shows.
The new census also shows that East Palo Alto's white population remained relatively flat, going up slightly from 7,962 in 2000 to 8,104 residents in the new census. The data suggests that many of these residents were also classified as Hispanic or Latino (which is an ethnicity, not a race). Of those residents listed as not Hispanic or Latino, 6.2 percent are white.
East Palo Alto's population decline came at a time when most Bay Area cities experienced growth, according to the census. San Jose and San Francisco saw their respective populations go up by 5.7 percent and 3.7 percent over the past decade, while Palo Alto's population rose by 9.9 percent.