Figures from the 2010 census released today show that Evanston’s population grew by only 247 people in the past decade, to a total of 74,486.

By comparison, the City of Chicago lost 200,000 people and the metro area as a whole gained about 210,000.

The numbers from the decennial population count are a dramatic drop from the latest census bureau population estimates for Evanston, which indicated a 2009 population of 77,857 — an increase which had been credited to a surge in new construction, mostly downtown, in the early years of the decade.

The latest census numbers show little change in the white population of the city. It rose less than one percent, to 48,872 over the past decade.

But the black population dropped more than 19 percent, to 13,474.

The Asian population grew nearly 42 percent, to 6,416.

And the number of people identifying themselves as being of two or more races grew nearly 26 percent to 2,846.

The Hispanic population grew 48 percent to 6,739.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz said the the demographic trends in the numbers are no surprise but that city staff would be looking at the census-tract level numbers to see it there appear to be any discrepancies that might justify an appeal of the Census Bureau count.

In particular he said staff would look at census tracts where there’s been development and see if those numbers seem to square with ones from other parts of town.

As for the difference between the 2009 and 2010 numbers, he said studies show that the estimated numbers based on surveys conducted between the decennial censuses tend to be least accurate at the end of their 10 year cycle.

If there’s a miscalculation at any time during the decade, it tends to multiply over time, he said.

Bobkiewicz said Evanston aldermen are likely to be looking closely at the numbers at the census tract level over the next couple of months as they start to consider how to redistrict the city’s wards to reflect the new census data.

Results for other towns

The 2010 census numbers show Skokie’s population growing 2.3 percent, to 64,784. The population of Arlington Heights fell 1.2 percent, to 75,101.

Dramatic growth in downstate Champaign, up 20 percent, and Bloomington, up 18 percent, moved them above Evanston in the ranking of the largest cities in Illinois.

But with Schaumburg’s population falling 1.3 percent, dropping below Evanston to 74,227, Evanston only lost one position in the rankings and now stands as the state’s 15th largest city.

Statewide the biggest percentage gains among the top 20 cities were reported by Aurora, which grew 38.4 percent, to 197,899, and by Joliet, which grew 38.8 percent, to 147,433.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Chickens in Evanston

    So all of the Chicken Littles who were warning us of Evanston getting too crowded (.the traffic!  the pollution!  the parking!)…all about 247 people.  I bet that Sherman Plaza has more than 247 people.

    Let's try to get it up to 80,000  (or more!) in 2020.

    1. Yes

      Yes, NU students are counted- if they sent in their census form. I know NU had did some promotions for on-campus students to send in their forms and achieved a very high response rate (95+%). I haven't heard any estimates for the response rate of off-campus students.

    2. Students

      Yes, the numbers include NU students.

      For students living in dorms on campus it will eventually be possible to come up with an exact number by examining the count of people in congregate living setting in the campus census tracts.

      For students living off campus, it's not really possible to come up with a precise number — the census doesn't ask "Are you a Northwestern University student?"

      The very rough estimate is that perhaps 10,000 Evanston residents are NU students.



  2. More evidence against building another elementary school

    Meanwhile, D65 board members and staff are racing to build another elementary school in the Fifth Ward at a cost of tens of millions of dollars to construct and millions more to operate with teachers and staff.

    This during a severe recession where property, city, sales and gas taxes keep rising as well as electric and water rate increases. Let's not forget our new library tax where the unelected library board voted itself a taxing body.

    Prepare for more propaganda.

  3. Where is the growth?

    Hold on a second. The census form asks where you were sleeping on April 1, 2010.  Were Northwestern students in Evanston at the time?  No, this was after spring break.  So the students were definitely counted.

    Appealing the Census Bureau count is a losing game.  Gary, Indiana does that every 10 years.   It actually worked for St Louis, MO one year, but usually you're going to lose. 

    And of course those 2009 intercensal estimates were way off.  Does the new construction have anything to do with population growth?  No, of course not.  Just apartments for empty nesters or they're sitting empty after all these years.  Sherman Plaza and the like are just an eyesore on the skyline, not a big increase out of that.

    There is a portion of Evanston in Skokie that has an Evanston zip code.  It's called Skevanston.  Evanston should unilaterally annex that zone through an amendment of the home rule charter and then maybe the population will top 80,000.

    1. Take it from a Enumberator

      College students were counted on their own specific date that did not coincide with spring break.  The are included in a town's population because they are resident in town as warm bodies for the majority of a 12 month year, needing streets, electricity, fire protection, etc.

  4. Where was the growth from ?

    The schools have kept adding staff for years even as the student population has decreased, from numbers I've seen.

    For the schools to continue to add staff and a new school, you would have to make demographic assumptions for Evanston that seem unreasonable given national assumptions.

    The standard assumption is proportion of older people 'baby boom' has and will increase.  Hence the problems facing Social Security and Medicare/caid.   That will mean fewer residents with school age children and more of the tax burden on people without children in the system. 

    A disconnect by the schools ignoring keeping the general public informed on the quality of schools, test scores produced and even crime by those in or recently from the K-12 cohort, will make tax payers less and less willing to fund K-12 programs.  I've seen no effort on the part of the schools to keep the residents without children informed—good luck with any bond issue !  Instead the public hears excuses about test scores but nothing to offset the bad news.  Sure there are some exceptional students—but I bet most people only hear about them when they win a prize—like Intel—or they are children of friends.

    From where do the administrators assume all the new children will come from ?  Will young professionals and even NU grads select Evanston with its taxes, looming budget and pension burden, crime, etc. decide to stay in Evanston ?  I suspect the large number of high-rise condos and apartments are being occupied by people—professionals and retired–without children in the system.  In fact most apartments/condos are probably not occupied by people with more than one child and probably with no children once the adults are over 30.  Hence the assumptions for school growth must be more single family housing is in the works.  Given the experience of populating the Kendall College property and other single family homes, this seems dubious—think of the tear-downs, they seem to result in multifamily units.

  5. Speaking of Sherman Plaza

    Did anyone think about the adding of this wind tunnel ! ?  Orrington has been a wind tunnel for long enough that someone [where was the zoning board?] should have anticipated the effect of another wind-tunnel. 

    Several times [on a bike so I could go back and check] when I get ot Benson and Clark, a normally calm day becomes a wind trial when entering it—I've gone back and checked the change was real.  Try biking or even walking against the winds [either direction]—there are times I can't even move on a bike and have to walk it..  On a bike Sherman with its diagonal parking and cars pulling in/out, is bad enough—hence the need to ride closer to the center—and then add the wind, Sherman is no pleasure. 

  6. Can’t afford Evanston

    People can't afford to move to Evanston.  That would be one reason why the population has not risen.  I know of one successful engineer and his family who looked at moving to Evanston until they realized their property taxes would be twice what they pay now.  From a financial perspective, Evanston is not an attractive place for newcomers.

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