Census 2010 & Baker: fewer people, shifting population

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if you’ve lived in Baker for several years, you’ve probably sensed it was gradually getting whiter, but did you also know that a lot fewer people live here than did ten years ago? here’s a detailed look at the changes and a hypothesis about what is driving them …

Piton Foundation compiles census data

comparing the 2010 Census statistics with those from 2000 is relatively easy thanks to compilations done by the Piton Foundation for 2010 as well as for 2000 and before; perhaps the most notable change is that over ten years Baker’s Latino majority of 54% declined to 34%, while the proportion of non-Latino White residents rose from 40% to 59%

this demographic change in Baker follows the trend in northwest and central Denver, but this occurred while the opposite trend, 42% growth, occurred metro-wide

underlying the racial/ethnic shift are dramatic population changes: in 2010 1453 fewer Latinos lived in Baker, while 547 more non-Latino Whites had arrived; this accounts for the bulk of a net decline of 931 residents over the decade, a 16% drop in Baker’s population; by contrast, Baker grew about 10% across the 1990s

(note that the source material from the Piton Foundation has used “Latino” & “Hispanic” interchangeably)

immigrant proportion of the population

what’s not spelled out is what proportion of “departing” Latinos were immigrants; in 2000, 33% of Baker residents were foreign-born, and the number of immigrants in Baker had grown by a substantial 122% compared to 1990; the current proportion of immigrant residents isn’t yet available (on Piton’s site at least) because of a change in how the census is tallied; in 2000, 71% of immigrant residents of Denver were from Central or South America, or the Caribbean

visualizing the demographic changes and extrapolating a hypothesis

another way to look at census data is by where in Baker people live; Erik Fischer has posted metro Denver demographic maps based on 2000 and 2010 census data; we can zoom in on these maps to visualize changes in Baker:


(source images: 2000 and 2010)

in these graphics, each dot represents the rough location of 25 people, but some dots are obscured, and the color key is slightly different for each decade ("other/mixed" in the 2010 map is yellow, not gray); here we can subjectively visualize a big decrease in Latino density in west Baker, a slight increase in non-Latino White density in east and south Baker, and a notable (if modest) spread of Baker’s population to the west

here’s a hypothesis, without enough hard information yet to test it: much of the change in west Baker, and a substantial portion of Baker’s population decline, is due to higher housing costs; homes which had housed a higher density of lower income immigrants, who were very likely to be Latino, now house a lower density of non-immigrants, who are more likely to non-Latino white


Comparing those two images is

Comparing those two images is really interesting. I had a gut feeling that there was expansion of residential use on the west-side of Baker and those images confirm it. My sense is that some former industrial or empty lots were converted into residential. To the extent that the locations of the dots are meaningful, that confirms my theory and means that the overall loss of people is even bigger than the numbers indicate.

I also wonder to what extent illegal/undocumented Latino populations might have answered the census in 2000 and answered it less completely now given the change in political climate WRT immigrants. Maybe some of the people are still here just not listed in the census.

also a lot of multi-family

also a lot of multi-family houses have been converted back to single family homes.

(i updated the article to

(i updated the article to note 2010 "other" color is yellow and to link to source images)

good point about potential underreporting, Greg

david: yeah, conversion to single family, as well as few people living in each unit — both reduce the density