The U.S. Census Bureau released some results of the 2020 decennial census last week. The Emeryville Census data showed the city’s population increased dramatically from roughly 10,080 to 12,905. A 28% increase.
By comparison, the greater Bay Area, which includes Monterey and Santa Cruz counties, grew by 8.3%
Emeryville’s Asian population, mirroring trends in the greater Bay Area, saw the largest increase in population with 1,162 residents or a 3% increase. Whites remained Emeryville’s largest ethnic block with 4,564 or roughly 35% of its residents (down about 5% from 2010). All categorized ethnic groups increased in population.
Emeryville’s Black population as a percentage of its residents dipped slightly from about 17.2% in 2010 to 15.2% while gaining roughly 235 Black residents. By comparison, the Black population in neighboring Berkeley has dropped 13% since 2010. Oakland’s Black population shrank from 106,637 to 91,561 or about -14.1%. Emeryville is the only city in Alameda County that did not see a net loss in Black residents.
Those identifying as multiracial saw a fairly significant increase jumping from 528 to 832 residents.
Twitter pundits and Emeryville leaders were quick to link Emeryville’s relatively lower Black population decline than our neighbors to our city’s affordable housing and recent anti-eviction policies. This cannot be substantiated with the data provided.
Emeryville went on an affordable housing “boom” during the city’s Nora Davis/John Flores led “Redevelopment Era” approving or building roughly 97% of our current 973 unit affordable housing unit stock. The city has struggled to build affordable housing since Redevelopment was dissolved by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2012.
Emeryville is hoping to supplement its affordable housing stock through 2018’s Measure C Housing Bond which has as many as three projects in the early planning stages. The furthest along is a 90 unit supportive housing project that dates back to 2017.
Emeryville’s total housing units increased over the past decade from about 6,646 to 7,525 (a roughly a 13% increase). Owner-occupied units are estimated to be fewer than 35% and anticipated to decline further with nearly every significant housing project slated to be rentals.
The Census data does not account for any population shifts during the pandemic. Experts are predicting slower growth in the Bay Area “for the foreseeable future.” Emeryville may buck this trend with an estimated 1,221 housing units in the planning pipeline.