The U.S. Census Bureau last week published reformatted data that will be critical to the Coastside’s redistricting efforts.

The latest batch, known as the 2020 Census Redistricting Data Summary File, provides demographic, housing, and population statistics at the block level, the smallest measuring unit the census provides. An earlier version of the data released in August did not have city-level data available.

Pacifica’s redistricting data revealed the total population increased by 4.7 percent to 38,640 in 2020. More than 6,000 residents identified themselves as two or more races, a 127 percent increase from 2010. Those who said they were Asian and white increased by 47 percent to 8,385.

Asians and Latinos were responsible for most of Pacifica’s growth. The number of people identified as Asian-only was at 8,385, a 16 percent increase from 2010. The Latino population was recorded at 7,362, a 17 percent jump. At the same time, the white-only population dropped 9 percent to 18,742 people. 

According to the 2020 Census, Half Moon Bay’s total population as of April 2020 was 11,795, a slight increase from 11,324 in 2010. During that time, the city’s Latino community shrank from 3,563 in 2010 to 3,504. Latinos made up 29 percent of Half Moon Bay’s population in 2020, compared to 31 percent in 2010. The number of people who identified as Asian-only grew from 490 to 726 in the last 10 years. 

Half Moon Bay’s population also grew more diverse. In 2010, 10,942 people identified themselves by one race. In 2020, that number dropped nearly 10 percent to 9,948. In contrast, the number of people who said they were two or more races ballooned from 382 to 1,847 in a decade. 

How do you account for a more than 380 percent increase? Demographers believe it’s a combination of factors, including more respondents reassessing their identity, more interracial couples having kids, and a formatting change in the latest census. Twenty years ago, the census only had one response available for race. The 2020 Census included more options that allowed for additional detail on races and ethnicities. 

The Coastside’s demographics are reflective of nationwide trends as a small but growing percentage of Americans no longer sees itself defined by one checkmark. In the U.S., the number of non-Latinos who identified as multiracial increased 127 percent between each decennial census. At the same time, Latinos who identified as multiracial jumped from 3 million to more than 20 million. Those two groups represent nearly 10 percent of the county’s population.

August Howell is a staff writer for the Review covering city government and public safety. Previously, he was the Review’s community, arts and sports reporter. He studied journalism at the University of Oregon.

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