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A publication of the American Planning Association, California Chapter, Northern Section

Creating great communities for all

2020 census reveals how Berkeley was remade over the past decade

By Ally Markovich, Berkeleyside, July 17, 2022

“When data from the 2020 census were released last summer, a picture emerged of a changing Berkeley, one that is more densely populated than a decade ago, with more Latino and Asian people, but a continued decline in Black residents.

“From 1950 to 2010, Berkeley’s population remained relatively stagnant, declining multiple decades in a row. Only in the last 20 years has the city’s population grown in significant numbers, and 2020 is the first time Berkeley’s population eclipsed its previous 1970 high.

“The population in industrial West Berkeley — the only part of the city that includes zoning for both homes and manufacturing — more than doubled.

“On average, each of the city’s 33 census tracts gained 87 new units. Compare that with downtown and Southside, where, together, 1,138 new units went up in the last 10 years.

“[M]ost census blocks (70 percent) had no new housing built or lost housing units in the last 10 years.

“In the last 10 years, Berkeley became more racially diverse overall, with more Latino, Asian, and multiracial people living in the city now.

“Many of the new Latino and Asian residents are UC Berkeley students, but it’s hard to say exactly how many.

“The number of multiracial residents, the city’s fastest-growing demographic, is rising relatively consistently throughout Berkeley, with their numbers growing in nearly every census tract.

“Only in downtown, in parts of new West Berkeley with big new developments, and in several neighborhoods surrounding UC Berkeley did the numbers of Black residents increase. Numbers also rose in homeless encampments in Northwest Berkeley.”

Read the full article here, including six interactive maps illustrating the city’s changing demographics and where it added housing. (~6 min.)

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