Over the past 10 years, Isla Vista’s share of the Asian population rose by 12%, while the share of the white population decreased by 17%, according to new data released by the United States Census Bureau on population trends between 2010 and 2020.

The U.S. conducts a census count every 10 years to ascertain an updated count of the U.S. population. The data then dictates the number of seats per state within the House of Representatives. The census also informs distribution of funds, assistance to states and localities, redistricting and reapportion of Congressional seats.

The country’s 24th Census asked U.S. residents how many people live in their household, as well as their gender, age, birthday and race.

According to the 2020 Census, between 2010 and 2020, the population of I.V. and number of people living in UC Santa Barbara-affiliated housing increased by 678 and 1,436, respectively.

The data collected from the 2020 Census shows that white people make up 47% of I.V.’s population. White people are overrepresented on Del Playa Drive, making up 60 to 83% of the population on various parts of the street. In addition, white people are the majority demographic at West Campus Faculty Housing— a set of condos provided to UCSB faculty members — at 74%. However, white people are underrepresented in UCSB’s main campus dorms — excluding Santa Catalina — making up only 30% of the people living there.

By contrast, Asians make up the majority of the population living at UCSB’s campus dorms and are the largest population at the San Clemente Villages — a set of on-campus apartments.

In comparison to 2010, the Black population living at UCSB and in I.V. has gone from 2.6% to 1.8% in 2020. This decrease is in line with the county’s trends as well, where the Black population went from 2% in 2010 to 1.6% in 2020.

The 2020 Census was conducted amongst myriad obstacles, including the COVID-19 pandemic and former President Donald Trump’s decision to end the census approximately two weeks early. Many journalists and experts said that consequences of ending the count early would be that “people of color, immigrants, renters, [and] other historically undercounted groups may be missed or counted inaccurately,” according to NPR’s Hansi Lo Wang.

Despite these various obstacles, the Census Bureau said it is confident with the quality of its data.

“We have produced reliable and usable statistics that we and the public expect. While no census is perfect, we are confident that today’s redistricting results meet our high data quality standards,” said Ron Jarmin, acting director of the U.S. Census Bureau, during the Aug. 12 press conference.

“It is too early to speculate on undercounts or overcounts for any specific demographic group and we look forward to the release of the post enumeration survey results in 2022 which will provide information on coverage of demographic groups in the 2020 census.”

However, because many students lived in their respective familial households instead of their I.V. residences when the census was collecting data, “hundreds of thousands of U.S. college students who normally live off campus in non-university housing” counted themselves in alternative locations, the Associated Press reported.

One possible consequence of an undercount is insufficient federal and state funds, which could impact the quality of local infrastructure, public education and the national school lunch program.

Whether or not an undercount occurred in I.V. remains uncertain. The Nexus will continue to investigate the difference between the number of people reported on the census in 2020, versus the number of people who have returned to the town for the upcoming in-person school year in addition to I.V.’s non-college-student population and will release that data in a later article.

A version of this article appeared on p. 9 of the Aug. 26, 2021 print edition of the Daily Nexus. 

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Atmika Iyer
Atmika Iyer (she/her/hers) is the County News Editor for the 2021-22 school year. She's a lover of loud music, loud laughs and loud prints.
Alex Rudolph
Alex Rudolph (he/him/his) is the 2021-22 Data Editor. He can be reached at data@dailynexus.com.