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Census: Midpeninsula's population of kids, teens is shrinking

Decennial data reveals that area's youth as a whole are less white, more Asian or multiracial

Menlo-Atherton High School math teacher and athletic director Steve Kryger teaches advanced algebra II to in person and remote students in Atherton on April 6, 2021. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

The number of young people on the Midpeninsula is shrinking, even as the overall population grows, mirroring a trend throughout California, recently released data from the 2020 U.S. Census shows. The children and teens are also becoming increasingly non-white, although many towns remain far more racially homogeneous than the region overall.

Santa Clara County saw the number of people under 18 drop by 5.4% between 2010 and 2020 (from 429,545 to 406,542), even as the total population increased by 8.7%. In San Mateo County, there are now 3.5% fewer children than a decade ago, decreasing from 159,772 to 154,206, despite a 6.4% increase in the overall number of people living in the county.

The region isn't alone in seeing a smaller number of young people, even as the broader population swells. Statewide, the total number of children has dropped 6.3% over the past 10 years, even as the overall population has grown 6.1%.

With the overall population increasing and number of young people decreasing, the share of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties residents who are under 18 has dropped. In 2010, 24.1% of Santa Clara County residents and 22.2% of San Mateo County residents were under 18. Today, those shares are 21% and 20.2%, respectively. Statewide, the share of young people has dropped from 25% to 22%.

A few local towns — notably Mountain View — did manage to see an uptick in their number of young residents, but those increases were generally overshadowed by larger jumps in the overall population within those areas.

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Among the children and teens living on the Midpeninsula, the share identifying as Asian increased substantially, as did those selecting more than one racial group. The portion of white youth dropped, as, to a lesser extent, did the share of Hispanic young people.

The census is conducted every 10 years and collects data on the U.S. population that is used for a variety of purposes, including congressional redistricting. The information gathered includes the total number of people living in given geographic areas, as well as their race and whether they are an adult.

Race and ethnicity data is collected on the census using two questions: one asks if the respondents identify as Hispanic or Latino; the second asks them to pick their race, which may include selecting multiple options. Hispanic or Latino does not appear on that list.

In this article and its accompanying graphics, people who identified as Hispanic or Latino are listed as a single category. All other categories are made up only of those who selected "not Hispanic or Latino."

Countywide changes

Asian people now make up the largest share of those under 18 living in Santa Clara County, while Hispanic people remain the plurality of San Mateo County residents, despite increases in the Asian population.

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Today, 36.8% of Santa Clara County young people identify as Asian, 33% as Hispanic, 19.7% as white and 7.6% as more than one racial group. In San Mateo County, 32.5% of young people identify as Hispanic, 27.9% as white, 25.7% as Asian and 10.4% as two or more races. Much smaller shares in both counties identify as other racial groups, including Black and Pacific Islander.

Compared to adults, young people in both counties are substantially less likely to be white. Just 19.7% of those under 18 in Santa Clara County are white, compared with 31.1% of the adult population. White people make up 27.9% of youth in San Mateo County, compared with 38.2% of adults.

On the flip side, young people are more likely to be Hispanic or multiracial than adults.

In Santa Clara County, more than double the share of young people (7.6%) is multiracial compared to adults (3.1%). In San Mateo County, it's nearly three times the share, with 10.4% of young people picking more than one racial group, compared with 3.8% of adults.

Roughly a third (33%) of Santa Clara County young people are Hispanic, versus 23.1% of adults. In San Mateo County, 32.5% of youth are Hispanic, compared to 23.2% of adults.

Taking a closer look

With few exceptions, Midpeninsula cities grew in the last decade, but none saw their share of young people keep up. A few cities have managed to eke out increases in the number of people under 18, but without exception, these cities saw a larger increase in their overall population.

Mountain View had the most notable increase in its youth population, with an 8.7% jump, but the city's total population jumped 11.2%, which was one of the largest increases on the Midpeninsula. That meant the portion of the overall population that's under 18 still dropped slightly, from 19.7% to 19.3%.

Cities like Palo Alto and Los Altos saw an essentially flat number of young people, even as their overall populations jumped. Palo Alto saw a 0.8% drop in the number of youth, while the overall population increased 6.5%. Los Altos overall increased 9.1%, while the number of youth rose just 0.19%.

Many cities saw more substantial drops in the number of children and teens. In East Palo Alto, the change was dramatic, with the number of youth plummeting 15%, even as the overall population grew 6.7%.

Redwood City grew by 9.7% but saw a 5.6% drop in its number of youth. Atherton grew 4% but by 2020 had 11.7% fewer youth. Woodside's population stayed roughly flat, with a 0.42% increase, while the number of young people dropped 12.9%.

North Fair Oaks, an unincorporated area near Redwood City was one of the only places on the Midpeninsula to see its overall population drop, with a decrease of 4.5%, but its youth population plunged far further, dropping 17.6%.

Racial breakdown, city by city

Although Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties overall are racially diverse, many individual cities and areas in the Midpeninsula remain far more racially homogenous.

In cities like Atherton, Portola Valley and Woodside, over 60% of those under 18 are white, which is far higher than the 27.9% of that age group that's white in San Mateo County overall. Places like East Palo Alto and North Fair Oaks, on the other hand, have a population that is nearly 80% Hispanic.

In Santa Clara County, 33% of youth are Hispanic, yet Palo Alto (10.1%), Los Altos (6.3%) and Los Altos Hills (5.9%) all have far smaller shares of Hispanic young people. They each have a substantially higher share of white youth than the county overall.

A few cities have a racial composition of young people that's more in line with its county. That includes Mountain View, where 23.9% of those under 18 are Hispanic, 32% are white, 29.8% are Asian and 12.3% are multiracial.

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Note: The census delineates data by "places," which generally follow city boundaries but also include other areas, such as unincorporated communities like North Fair Oaks. Census data processed by Angeliki Kastanis of the Associated Press and provided by the 2020 Census Co-op.

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Census: Midpeninsula's population of kids, teens is shrinking

Decennial data reveals that area's youth as a whole are less white, more Asian or multiracial

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Mon, Nov 1, 2021, 11:22 am

The number of young people on the Midpeninsula is shrinking, even as the overall population grows, mirroring a trend throughout California, recently released data from the 2020 U.S. Census shows. The children and teens are also becoming increasingly non-white, although many towns remain far more racially homogeneous than the region overall.

Santa Clara County saw the number of people under 18 drop by 5.4% between 2010 and 2020 (from 429,545 to 406,542), even as the total population increased by 8.7%. In San Mateo County, there are now 3.5% fewer children than a decade ago, decreasing from 159,772 to 154,206, despite a 6.4% increase in the overall number of people living in the county.

The region isn't alone in seeing a smaller number of young people, even as the broader population swells. Statewide, the total number of children has dropped 6.3% over the past 10 years, even as the overall population has grown 6.1%.

With the overall population increasing and number of young people decreasing, the share of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties residents who are under 18 has dropped. In 2010, 24.1% of Santa Clara County residents and 22.2% of San Mateo County residents were under 18. Today, those shares are 21% and 20.2%, respectively. Statewide, the share of young people has dropped from 25% to 22%.

A few local towns — notably Mountain View — did manage to see an uptick in their number of young residents, but those increases were generally overshadowed by larger jumps in the overall population within those areas.

Among the children and teens living on the Midpeninsula, the share identifying as Asian increased substantially, as did those selecting more than one racial group. The portion of white youth dropped, as, to a lesser extent, did the share of Hispanic young people.

The census is conducted every 10 years and collects data on the U.S. population that is used for a variety of purposes, including congressional redistricting. The information gathered includes the total number of people living in given geographic areas, as well as their race and whether they are an adult.

Race and ethnicity data is collected on the census using two questions: one asks if the respondents identify as Hispanic or Latino; the second asks them to pick their race, which may include selecting multiple options. Hispanic or Latino does not appear on that list.

In this article and its accompanying graphics, people who identified as Hispanic or Latino are listed as a single category. All other categories are made up only of those who selected "not Hispanic or Latino."

Asian people now make up the largest share of those under 18 living in Santa Clara County, while Hispanic people remain the plurality of San Mateo County residents, despite increases in the Asian population.

Today, 36.8% of Santa Clara County young people identify as Asian, 33% as Hispanic, 19.7% as white and 7.6% as more than one racial group. In San Mateo County, 32.5% of young people identify as Hispanic, 27.9% as white, 25.7% as Asian and 10.4% as two or more races. Much smaller shares in both counties identify as other racial groups, including Black and Pacific Islander.

Compared to adults, young people in both counties are substantially less likely to be white. Just 19.7% of those under 18 in Santa Clara County are white, compared with 31.1% of the adult population. White people make up 27.9% of youth in San Mateo County, compared with 38.2% of adults.

On the flip side, young people are more likely to be Hispanic or multiracial than adults.

In Santa Clara County, more than double the share of young people (7.6%) is multiracial compared to adults (3.1%). In San Mateo County, it's nearly three times the share, with 10.4% of young people picking more than one racial group, compared with 3.8% of adults.

Roughly a third (33%) of Santa Clara County young people are Hispanic, versus 23.1% of adults. In San Mateo County, 32.5% of youth are Hispanic, compared to 23.2% of adults.

With few exceptions, Midpeninsula cities grew in the last decade, but none saw their share of young people keep up. A few cities have managed to eke out increases in the number of people under 18, but without exception, these cities saw a larger increase in their overall population.

Mountain View had the most notable increase in its youth population, with an 8.7% jump, but the city's total population jumped 11.2%, which was one of the largest increases on the Midpeninsula. That meant the portion of the overall population that's under 18 still dropped slightly, from 19.7% to 19.3%.

Cities like Palo Alto and Los Altos saw an essentially flat number of young people, even as their overall populations jumped. Palo Alto saw a 0.8% drop in the number of youth, while the overall population increased 6.5%. Los Altos overall increased 9.1%, while the number of youth rose just 0.19%.

Many cities saw more substantial drops in the number of children and teens. In East Palo Alto, the change was dramatic, with the number of youth plummeting 15%, even as the overall population grew 6.7%.

Redwood City grew by 9.7% but saw a 5.6% drop in its number of youth. Atherton grew 4% but by 2020 had 11.7% fewer youth. Woodside's population stayed roughly flat, with a 0.42% increase, while the number of young people dropped 12.9%.

North Fair Oaks, an unincorporated area near Redwood City was one of the only places on the Midpeninsula to see its overall population drop, with a decrease of 4.5%, but its youth population plunged far further, dropping 17.6%.

Although Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties overall are racially diverse, many individual cities and areas in the Midpeninsula remain far more racially homogenous.

In cities like Atherton, Portola Valley and Woodside, over 60% of those under 18 are white, which is far higher than the 27.9% of that age group that's white in San Mateo County overall. Places like East Palo Alto and North Fair Oaks, on the other hand, have a population that is nearly 80% Hispanic.

In Santa Clara County, 33% of youth are Hispanic, yet Palo Alto (10.1%), Los Altos (6.3%) and Los Altos Hills (5.9%) all have far smaller shares of Hispanic young people. They each have a substantially higher share of white youth than the county overall.

A few cities have a racial composition of young people that's more in line with its county. That includes Mountain View, where 23.9% of those under 18 are Hispanic, 32% are white, 29.8% are Asian and 12.3% are multiracial.

Note: The census delineates data by "places," which generally follow city boundaries but also include other areas, such as unincorporated communities like North Fair Oaks. Census data processed by Angeliki Kastanis of the Associated Press and provided by the 2020 Census Co-op.

Comments

Observer
Registered user
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 1, 2021 at 12:03 pm
Observer, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
Registered user
on Nov 1, 2021 at 12:03 pm

Another reason to vote No on B. Too bad this wasn't publicized a couple months ago.


margomca
Registered user
Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Nov 1, 2021 at 1:30 pm
margomca, Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
Registered user
on Nov 1, 2021 at 1:30 pm

Youth population in the 1980's also dropped. The Sequoia board closed 2 schools, San Carlos and Ravenswood, selling the valuable properties to cover expenses. Then that population began to grow. All 4 remaining schools had to be greatly expanded, but the money had been used (alas!). At the same time the Menlo Park school district closed Fremont School, selling the property on Middle where my children started 1st grade 1970, again not planning ahead for what they should have anticipated as an upswing of kids. MA's population grew from about 1400 in 1983 (when I began teaching there to a high of about 2400 (not exactly sure). My own street, East Creek Drive, had virtually no children when we moved here in 1993, now it is teeming with 1-6 year olds. Those who understand math will see that school age populations are a sine curve, up and down. Don't repeat the grievous errors of the 1980's. Believe me, the numbers will grow. This article refers to % of the population, but classrooms are filled with students, not %'s. Nowhere did I see any information regarding the number of pre-schoolers. That would be very telling indeed.

Comments about not voting for Prop B reflect a lack of historical perspective.


MenloVoter.
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Nov 1, 2021 at 6:51 pm
MenloVoter., Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Nov 1, 2021 at 6:51 pm

margomca:

good points, however, the need isn't now, so there's no need for another parcel tax. Voting no on B isn't going to bring about the closing of schools. Enrollment is falling/flat, there is no demonstrated need for additional money.


Brian
Registered user
Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 1, 2021 at 7:08 pm
Brian, Menlo Park: The Willows
Registered user
on Nov 1, 2021 at 7:08 pm

Margonca,

Ravenswood High School was part of the Ravenswood School District, not the Sequoia School District. The Sequoia district has Sequoia, M-A, Woodside, Carlmont and San Carlos but closed San Carlos HS in 1982 and sold the property. This resulted in a lot of shuffling of students between the different high schools to "balance the load".

Menlo Park School District also had O'Connor School that was built in about 1956 if I remember correctly. They did not sell that property but leased it out for many years and then ended the lease, rebuilt it and it is now Laurel Upper Campus.

If the numbers are accurate then it does seem Prop B is premature. From what I have read elsewhere the enrollment within the district has not changed much in the last 10 years.


Observer
Registered user
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 1, 2021 at 9:52 pm
Observer, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
Registered user
on Nov 1, 2021 at 9:52 pm

Sorry Brian, but Ravenswood HS was part of the Sequoia HS district. It was closed in 1976 because of low enrollment and racial tensions. At is closing some board members and others saw it as a way to perhaps forcibly integrate its students into the other district high schools. The school was demolished in 1996, now the site of Home Depot etc. As for Fremont School it was in pretty bad shape on a small campus.


Observer
Registered user
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 1, 2021 at 10:56 pm
Observer, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
Registered user
on Nov 1, 2021 at 10:56 pm

Margomca, let's keep the facts straight.
Fremont school which opened in 1927 ceased operating as a school in 1971. In 1992 the MP district decided not to reopen Fremont which was being leased to the city.

Fremont School was deemed too small to operate cost effectively, and the Board felt it would be too expensive to bring it to compliance with modern ADA and educational standards.

The Board made the choice between allowing the City of Menlo Park to continue leasing Fremont, knowing that at the end of the contract, the City would take ownership of the school or eliminating plans for a new Multi-Purpose room from Hillview. The superintendent felt that if enrollment continued to rise that Encinal school had ample room to expand. So the Board voted to let go of the Fremont School in favor of expanding the facilities at the other four campuses. (from the district site)


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