Stamford Advocate (Sunday)

Stamford grows more diverse

Census data shows less than half of city residents are white

- By Veronica Del Valle

Along with all the new buildings, the new people and the new businesses, newly released data from the 2020 census shows yet another new change for Connecticu­t’s fastest-growing city.

For the first time, the city’s white residents no longer make up a majority of the people who live there, according to figures released by the federal Census Bureau Thursday.

Down from 53.3 percent of Stamfordit­es in 2010, white people now comprise about 48 percent of the local population, though the total number of white residents stayed almost the same. The proportion of Hispanic residents in Stamford jumped from 24 percent to 28 percent over the same period, a trend in line with changes observed throughout Connecticu­t.

Stamford’s Asian population also increased by 19 percent and now accounts for about 9 percent of the city residents, according to the data. The number of residents who classified themselves as multiracia­l or “other” reported significan­t gains, 122 and 123 percent, respective­ly.

The marked increase in multiracia­l residents, a national trend, is likely due to changes in how the Census Bureau collects its data on top of an evolving population, something it explained upon releasing the data.

“As the country has grown, we have

continued to evolve in how we measure the race and ethnicity of the people who live here,” said Nicholas Jones, director and senior adviser for race and ethnicity research and outreach at the Census Bureau. “The improvemen­ts we made to the 2020 census yield a more accurate portrait of how people self-identify in response to two separate questions on Hispanic origin and race, revealing that the U.S. population is much more multiracia­l and more diverse than what we measured in the past.”

The city’s overall population increased from 122,643 residents to 135,470, or 10 percent, which codified official expectatio­ns about how Stamford has changed and made it the second biggest city in Connecticu­t behind Bridgeport.

As a whole, the state is also becoming more diverse, with the white population shrinking in every town but Somers. Researcher­s attribute this to Asian, Hispanic, and Latino population­s being younger and having more children, whereas the opposite has been true for white population­s. Those trends are expected to continue.

Though more granular data about specific age groups in Stamford won’t be available for at least several more weeks, preliminar­y observatio­ns about the number of children and adults in the city could give clues about who is coming to — and leaving — Stamford.

The city’s Black and white population­s both stayed relatively the same between the 2010 and 2020 censuses. The number of white Stamfordit­es shrunk by less than 1 percent, whereas Black Stamfordit­es grew by less than one percent.

Despite those relatively conservati­ve fluctuatio­ns, both groups lost a significan­t number of children overall. The number of white children dropped by 23 percent; the number of black children by 16 percent. Those trends could mean that Black Stamford residents also have fewer children like their white counterpar­ts.

“You have to think back 10 years,” said Mark Abraham, executive director of data analysis collaborat­ive DataHaven. “There were more children and families were probably younger 10 years ago on average . ... People who were children like 10 years ago, they may have moved out in some cases. But also, older adults may have moved into the city from the New York area.”

The number of Hispanic or Latino children in Stamford tells an entirely different story. Though the overall group saw gains in Stamford, growth among Hispanic children was even more prominent. According to the census, the number of Hispanic children grew from 7,574 to 10,431, or by 38 percent. Huge gains were also documented among children who identified as multiracia­l (up 69 percent) or who selected the “other” designatio­n (up 104 percent).

Statewide, the number of children took a hit. The Census Bureau found 10 percent fewer kids in Connecticu­t in 2020 than it did in 2010. In Stamford, the child population grew by 1 percent. Danbury, the only large municipali­ty to gain more children over the last decade, reported 7 percent more kids.

Like with children, census data showed the number of people who identified with more than one race — or “some other race” — also shot up.

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