Town Square

Census data highlights shifting demographics in Palo Alto neighborhoods

Original post made on Aug 20, 2021

Data from the 2020 census offers a snapshot of a city that continues to undergo steady -- if uneven -- change. In some areas, populations have remained remarkably flat between 2010 and 2020.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, August 20, 2021, 6:56 AM


Posted by TimR
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 20, 2021 at 7:30 am

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Aren't most Hispanics of "two or more races" (Native and European)? And why aren't white Hispanics counted as white?

Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 20, 2021 at 7:54 am

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Anyone who lives in Palo Alto already knows this. The schools know this in particular.

We are an eclectic mix!

Posted by felix
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 20, 2021 at 7:57 am

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The biggest take-away from the census is that Palo Alto’s race diversity has significantly increased without a lot of new housing built, counter to the propaganda pushed by Palo Alto Forward and the Yimbys that the only way to diversity is to greatly increase housing. This data should shut down this argument.

As an aside, also not credible is their idea that if we get rid of RI single family zoning (which we don’t really have in town since on every lot, one can build 2 additional ADUs), it will add diversity. Even Richard Rothstein (Color of Law) has said that in our area young techies, not low-income people would be the ones moving in.

The second take-away is not surprising. North Palo Alto hasn’t changed. Not hearing much about new mandated housing going there. That’s what should change.

Posted by M. Lerner
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 20, 2021 at 9:53 am

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The influx of wealthy Mandarins now residing in Palo Alto has culturally diversified our community and kept our residential property values at a premium level.

Thank you!

Posted by PA Streets
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Aug 20, 2021 at 11:49 am

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Ideally, we'd also like to have some socio-economic diversity too. That's the biggest challenge for our town right now. I've been around here since 1990 and seen the Asian and Asian-American population increase dramatically. Being Asian-American myself, that was nice. We do have a bit more diversity in our public schools because of the Tinsley students. That is good, because growing up here and going to public schools, you meet other students from different backgrounds. If only our neighborhoods could reflect a bit more of the same too. The new housing on El Camino Real near College Terrace has brought some socio-economic diversity here. I'm sure there are a few other examples of that around town. Overall, Palo Alto is a great town and we should continue to strive to be more and more diverse. We are all richer for those experiences.

Posted by Midtown resident
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 20, 2021 at 12:01 pm

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I too welcome the reported gain in cultural diversity in Palo Alto. But I think the phrasing of this report only highlights the necessity to distinguish between cultural diversity (good thing, going up) and the sort of Diversity, capital D (good thing, no significant change) that social justice activists want to wrap housing, school and other policies around. Especially in Palo Alto, stats on ethnicity/skin color tells us next to nothing about where the needs for civic intervention (real or perceived) might lie: socioeconomics is where it's at, and even there, it's often family economic trajectory rather than current income that's indicative.

Posted by Native to the BAY
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 20, 2021 at 12:39 pm

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This census data article says nothing about income changes. Also does not include Mayfield 2017 low-income housing as part of Stanford “tract”. The information contained in article is repetitive and did talk about COVID challenges in gathering the data this Census cycle .

Posted by EmmaP
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 20, 2021 at 2:31 pm

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The Hispanic/Non-Hispanic count is separate from 'race' counts and this probably should be but wasn't clearly distinguished in the charts. White Hispanics were included in the White count; Black/African-American Hispanics in the Black/African-American count; Asian Hispanics in the Asian count; and so on.

Posted by Jose Takamoto
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 20, 2021 at 4:59 pm

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[Post removed.]

Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 21, 2021 at 9:01 am

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One of the few benefits of the past year is that I have spoken with neighbors I had never seen before.

Time was when I first moved to Palo Alto I "knew" all the people down my street. I may not have known their names, but I had chatted with them as we passed while dog walking with people sitting on their porch or working in their yards. I recognized the children and knew which house they came from Then gradually over the years as the demographics changed, we didn't see so many dog walkers, people working in their own yards, sitting on their front porches, even the children were taken everywhere by car. I would not recognize anyone other than my immediate neighbors if I was asked. I might be able to tell from the cars but nothing else.

At first I thought this was just changing times. I see now that it is really changing demographics. I know from family living in other places that they see people in front of their homes regularly, are offered a beer or a soda and a chat on the front porch, see neighbors working on cars or mowing lawns themselves, see children gathering in front of houses together.

Neighborhood trends in Palo Alto has meant people hide in their homes more and do not appear to want to get to know neighbors. This in my opinion is not a change for the better.

At least since the pandemic people are more visible!

Posted by Nancy Peterson
a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 21, 2021 at 11:19 am

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A concern I have in our neighborhood is no one living in newer homes. They are purchased but have no residents. A very troubling use of resources (water for irrigation) and absence of community.

Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Aug 21, 2021 at 5:59 pm

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Palo Alto has had socioeconomic diversity for a long time. From the very wealthy to the very poor and everyone in between. Palo Alto is considered a "wealthy" suburb, but I've always considered PA a middle class suburb with pockets of wealth and poverty. Wealthy suburbs don't have 45-50% renters, nor do they have residency along ECR, mobile home parks, older, less than desirable small apartments and 1000-1100 sq ft. homes. Palo Alto is becoming more culturally diverse, but the socioeconomic diversity has been around a long time.

Posted by Kellie Johanson
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 22, 2021 at 9:32 am

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[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]

Posted by Jose Takamoto
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 23, 2021 at 7:49 am

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Palo Alto is cursed. Only bad is in store for Palo Alto. God will destroy that evil city.

Posted by Lyle Eckhardt
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 23, 2021 at 8:29 am

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The last time I checked, Palo Alto was pretty much a middle class White + wealthy Asian demographic community.

The only way for PA to achieve a more balanced ethnic diversity would be if it were to annex EPA from San Mateo County.

Other than that farfetched prospect, Palo Alto will pretty much remain what it is today based on the cost of its housing.

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 23, 2021 at 5:41 pm

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The notion that each community should or can have an exact ratio of certain ethnic groups is childish .
Where I grew up I never laid eyes on a Mexican, and that’s bc it was thousands of miles from Mexico.
None of us in that northeast state were RACIST.
The numbers of Japanese in Silicon Valley in the 90’s were high, now I anecdotally see few (note: this does not refer to Palo Alto specifically).
How about personal choice, mobility, in some cases religious ties, changing employers and etc.
the fact is many factors enter into who lives where.
Politicians drumming up grievances at this date are ridiculous.
Promoting mobility in all respects for everyone is great.

Posted by EricFilseth
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 30, 2021 at 8:04 pm

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Under-18 kids as a percentage of all Palo Altans has fallen, but - interestingly - the percentage of households with under-18 kids appears to have =increased=, gradually but steadily for decades; from 22% in 1980 to 32% in 2010 to 34% in 2018 (for 2020 I haven’t figured out how to get this out of census data). So something more complicated may be going on here.

Posted by SRB
a resident of Mountain View
on Oct 31, 2021 at 9:36 am

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@Eric Filseth - Simple explanation might be steady decline of nb of kids per household?