And now, some local news from one of our favorite location, location, locations.
City’s Asian population increased by 73 percent over the past decade, fueling overall population growth of 9.9 percent
by Gennady Sheyner, Palo Alto Online Staff
Palo Alto’s population spiked by almost 10 percent over the past decade, fueled in large part by a growing Asian community, new data from the U.S. Census Bureau show.
The data, which the bureau released Tuesday afternoon, indicate that Palo Alto’s Asian population jumped from 10,090 in 2000 to 17,461 in 2010 — a 73 percent increase. While Asian Americans made up 17.2 percent of the city’s population 11 years ago, the proportion spiked to 27.1 percent last year, according to the census numbers.
Statewide, the Asian population went up by 31.5 percent over the past decade, census data indicate.
The new data confirm what many Palo Alto officials have publicly acknowledged in recent meetings: The city’s population is growing and become more diverse. The city’s listed total population grew from 58,598 in the 2000 census to 64,403 in the new one — an increase of 9.9 percent. At the same time, the city’s population of white residents dropped from 44,391 to 41,359 over the past decade — a 6.8 percent decline.
Well, isn’t that special? Seems whatever made Palo Alto so different than its neighbors is less and less the case every day. Yes, they knew they were rich, but they could also say they were white. Oh, where are those restrictive covenants when you need them?
Time for a little history, then.
California used to have the Alien Land Law which prohibited non-citizens from purchasing land, but was used primarily to prevent Asians from purchasing property. The law was found constitutional in 1923 and upheld in 1946, despite the repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1943 (which grew out of wartime diplomacy rather than any concern for civil rights).
When the Supreme Court overruled themselves and barred restrictive covenants in 1948, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) quickly came to the aid of racial separatists with this delightful item added to their ethics code:
“A realtor should not be instrumental in introducing into a neighborhood a character of property or use which clearly will be detrimental to property values in that neighborhood.”
California law also permitted school districts to set up different schools for Asian students, and if such a school was set up, all Asian students must attend that school. San Francisco had such a school and triggered an international incident in 1906 when they required Japanese-American children to attend this hitherto Chinese-American school. Yet California never specifically set up schools for black students, as was typical in the Southeast. Racially segregated schooling, at least by statute, ended in 1954 after Brown v. Board of Education.
Also look out for the legal phrase “alien ineligible to citizenship” when reading these old laws and statutes. That’s code for Asians again, and which Asians was spelled out in terms of longitude and latitude. It sure didn’t apply to Russians and Middle Easterners. It wasn’t until 1952 that racial restrictions to naturalization were done away with.
And now, in 2011, Palo Alto is getting a little bit more diverse than it has been. Formerly a city for wealthy, high-achieving white people, Palo Alto will become a city of wealthy and upper-middle class high-achievers, of both European and Asian ancestry. Diversity rocks!
Meanwhile, we can celebrate the return of de jure segregation, as the article mentions Hoover Elementary School has 78 percent of their students with Asian ancestry. The photo at left shows what Hoover classes looked like back in 1951.
Check out the highly-charged comments in the online story, the editors of Palo Alto Online are yanking quite a number of them. Seems there’s a few longtime (or not so longtime) residents who don’t appreciate any changes coming to Palo Alto, because, after all, It’s Special Here.