By Garlynn Woodsong | CNA Board Member, SW1, CNA LUTC Chair
This year is a decennial census year in which a count is conducted of every person living in the United States, including the collection of short-form information about each. Once the census forms are collected, they then must be tabulated, analyzed, tabulated and published, a process that takes another couple of years.
Check out the changes between 2000 and 2010 census data for our neighborhood profile, published by the Population Research Center at Portland State University.
In the year 2000, our population was 9,564 people; in 2010, it was 9,550 people, a loss of 14 people. The average household size decreased from 2.44 to 2.36, the average family size from 2.98 to 2.82, and the number of vacant housing units increased from 143 to 166, likely related to the great recession.
With 23 additional vacant homes in the neighborhood, a loss of 14 people seems surprisingly low. The total number of homes in Concordia increased by 89 from 3,921 in 2000 to 4,001 in 2010.
Similarly, from 2000 to 2010, the total number of households in the neighborhood went up, from 3,760 to 3,835. And yet, the number of families went down, from 2,231 to 2,052, even as the number of nonfamily households increased from 1,538 to 1,783 and the total group quarters population increased from 354 to 502.
So Concordia saw an increase in homes, which balanced out shrinking household sizes and an increase in vacancies. It also likely saw an increase in the student population at Concordia University, contributing to the rise in group quarters population.
It was, however, a neighborhood that was becoming less diverse. In 2000, Concordia was 63.3% white, 31.9% black, 2.5% American Indian, 4.5% Asian, and 5.2% Hispanic. By 2010, it had lost 1,271 black people, along with smaller losses of every other race except white people, of whom there was an increase of 1,265, and hispanic people, the population of whom increased by 132.
By 2010, Concordia was 76.7% white, 18.7% black, and 6.6% Hispanic, with less than a 0.3% change in the population of any other race.
From 2000 to 2010, the population of children ages 5 to 14 years (ages that might attend Vernon School, for instance) declined by 464, a very significant ratio of the total population of that school of 522. Over the same time period, Concordia saw an increase of 563 people ages 25 to 44, and 369 people aged 55 to 69, bringing the median neighborhood age up from 33.7 to 35.4.
Concordia’s 854 acres saw the absolute population density of 11.2 persons per acre, or 7,166 persons per square mile, remain unchanged from 2000 to 2010. Overall, it’s a stable, mature neighborhood, where incremental change generally occurs slowly, except for the rapid loss of black people from 2000 to 2010, and a likely associated loss of school-age children.
I’ll be very curious to see what kinds of changes the results of the 2020 census reveal to us about our neighborhood. Won’t you?
Please fill out your census form this year, and then we’ll wait for the results and the answers they bring to these questions!
Garlynn Woodsong lives on 29th Avenue, serves on the CNA board and is an avid bicyclist. He also is a dad who is passionate about the city his son will inherit. He is the planning + development partner with Cascadia Partners LLC, a local urban planning firm. Contact him at LandUse@ConcordiaPDX.org.