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Posted on Wed, Mar 23, 2011 : 1:15 p.m.

U.S. Census figures show gains in Ann Arbor Asian, Hispanic population, loss of white, black residents

By Juliana Keeping

This story has been updated with additional information.

Ann Arbor is still a melting pot — but one that includes fewer black and white residents, and more Asian and Hispanic residents than in 2000, figures from the 2010 U.S. Census reveal.

Hody List, an agent with Edward Surovell realtors, has noticed the changes. List was born in Hong Kong and speaks Mandarin and Cantonese. She said she has no shortage of Asian clients looking for housing in recent years - about half of her clients, she said, are Asian, and most of those are Chinese born.

Ann Arbor’s Asian population has grown by 20 percent since 2000 and now numbers 16,393. At least 2,861 additional Asian residents have moved to Ann Arbor since the last census, the new figures show. Asians make up 14.3 percent of the city’s total population and are the largest minority in Ann Arbor.


Nico Wang-Pontius, 6, feeds an orange to a Chinese lion during a dance by the Chinese Lion Dance Troupe of Michigan during the Chinese Spring Festival Gala at the EMU Student Center Ballroom last year. The percentage of Asian residents in Ann Arbor grew by 20 percent between 2000 and 2010, new U.S. Census figures show.

Melanie Maxwell | Ann

Most often, List’s clients are looking to settle in northeast Ann Arbor or northwest of the city, and they tell her they’re here to work at the University of Michigan Health System or to study on north campus at the University of Michigan, the school’s computer science and engineering stronghold.

The number of residents who call themselves Hispanic has also grown by 22 percent. The city added 852 Hispanic residents since 2000. that brings the total to 4,666, or 4 percent of Ann Arbor's population.

Those increases come while the overall population in Ann Arbor fell by a fraction of a percent, from 114,024 in 2000 to 113,934 in 2010, according to U.S. Census figures released Tuesday.

Lisa Neidert, a senior research associate with U-M's Population Studies Center, said Ann Arbor’s gains in Hispanic and Asian residents are modest compared to those in Washtenaw County and the state as a whole.

“I was expecting a slightly higher population growth for Asian growth,” Neidert said.

In Washtenaw County and in Michigan, the Asian population grew by about a third, while Washtenaw County has 56 percent more Hispanics than 10 years ago, and the state has about 34 percent more.

Around the country, even cities that lost thousands of residents showed gains in their Asian populations, Neidert said, although Detroit, which lost a quarter of its population, did not.

In Ann Arbor, white residents still make up the majority, about 70 percent, of the population in Ann Arbor, but there are fewer of them. In 2000, Census workers counted 82,975 white residents. In 2010, that number dropped about 3 percent to 80,158.

About 1,248 black residents have left Ann Arbor in the last decade, Census figures show. There were 9,906 black residents in Ann Arbor in 2000, but only 8,658 in 2010, about a 13 percent decrease, compared to a 10 percent increase countywide.

Black residents make up about 7.6 percent of the population of Ann Arbor, the figures show.

Juliana Keeping is a health and environment reporter for Reach her at or 734-623-2528. Follow Juliana Keeping on Twitter



Thu, Mar 24, 2011 : 11:30 a.m.

@joe blow I can't tell if you're serious. Diversity is good, in part, because when you get to know different cultures it makes your own world that much richer. People tend to fear what they don't understand, so it creates understanding and empathy. Too bad you don't want your child to learn another language because that would enrich his world, too.

Jay Thomas

Thu, Mar 24, 2011 : 3:34 a.m.

Opening up the Universities to students and faculty from China has been the largest transformation in Ann Arbor's demographic make up over my lifetime. What other posters have said is also correct: Whites are moving to new housing in adjacent towns. Blacks in many cases are finding it difficult to afford this city's expensive housing at all.


Thu, Mar 24, 2011 : 12:35 a.m.

I'm black, and I moved from Ann Arbor to Cincinnati, Ohio in 2006. I was only 11 at the time, so I didn't really have a mom says we moved for financial's pretty expensive to live in Ann Arbor.. I miss it so much though! Ann Arbor is like, everything a person could want in a city! There were a lot of Asians that I went to school with as a child, and as I see, they are still coming over here like crazy for the U of M. I love the diversity though. :) It's amazing. Ann Arbor can be racist though.. as much as people act like Ann Arbor is this heavenly perfect city where nothing bad ever happens, stuff does happen..nobody ever notices is though..or they just don't wanna accept it because it's "ANN ARBOR" and nothing is bad in "ANN ARBOR". Oh well, I still love ya! A2 for life ! :)

Joel Batterman

Thu, Mar 24, 2011 : 12:20 a.m.

The "melting pot" statement is misleading. Ann Arbor may still be relatively diverse compared to the rest of the Detroit region, but we'd do well to bear in mind that our region is the most racially segregated in the United States. Unfortunately, on the class side, Ann Arbor is clearly becoming less and less inclusive towards families of modest means, as suggested by the (steep) drop in black residents. We can take the easy way out and chalk that up to "the market," or we can talk about policy solutions to make sure that this town doesn't become a bigger Bloomfield Hills with a college. I urge the latter course. Stronger affordable housing requirements would not resolve the problem by themselves, but they would help. In Portland, Oregon, the DDA equivalent adopted a 25% affordable housing standard for new development downtown. We should do the same.


Thu, Mar 24, 2011 : 12:12 a.m.

One quick question, why is diversity good? I know I want my child to only speak English. I want them to hold my values above all else. I don't want them to think they're "special," but I do want them to know they can get ahead by working hard, not by checking a silly box on a diversity form.

man utd

Thu, Mar 24, 2011 : 3:32 a.m.

JB ... dust off that Webster's dictionary and look up the word diversity. While you're at it, look up racism and ignorance. Do you see the difference? Learning and accepting other cultures does not cause violence ... ignorance and racism does. We want our children to be raised in a diversified environment so that they are not ignorant of someone else's culture. Understanding other cultures lessen one's likelihood to be afraid of their differences which will minimize ignorant acts against them ... such as nonsense violence.


Thu, Mar 24, 2011 : 1:20 a.m.

You people are silly. Diversity is violence. How many trillions of people do you suppose have been killed because of diversity? Hey, your Jewish, I'm German. Hey, you're Mongolian, I'm Chinese. Hey, your Native and I'm British. Hey, your African and I'm white and in need of cheep labor. Hey your Shia and I'm Sunni. Do I need to continue? Name something good that has ever come out of diversity?

man utd

Thu, Mar 24, 2011 : 1:12 a.m.

No worries there JB, limiting your child's intellectual development will not make them special. It will not make them stand out amongst a group of their peers competing for the same lousy job.


Thu, Mar 24, 2011 : 1:02 a.m.

Why is diversity good?? I went to public school in Ann Arbor LONG ago. I never met a minority until junior high. Never had a minority friend until I was an adult. I missed out on a lot of potential friends.


Thu, Mar 24, 2011 : 12:43 a.m.

Who's "forcing" your kid to learn another language?


Thu, Mar 24, 2011 : 12:39 a.m.

Why would you only want your child to speak one language?????????????? Maybe they'll want to learn new languages in highschool and college so you need to get over that boo boo!


Wed, Mar 23, 2011 : 8:10 p.m.

There are four sources of population change - births, deaths, in-migration and out-migration. To state that 1,248 black residents left Ann Arbor is simply inaccurate. Without knowing how many black Ann Arbor residents were born and died in the last decade, one cannot determine what the net migration in or out of Ann Arbor was.

John B.

Wed, Mar 23, 2011 : 11:13 p.m.

B: You are technically correct, but your comment is irrelevant. The numbers are net. What else would they report? More folks left and died than arrived and were born (in the case of net losses).


Wed, Mar 23, 2011 : 8:30 p.m.

Birth and death are also in-migration and out-migration, not just moving in and out of the community.


Wed, Mar 23, 2011 : 8:01 p.m.

Fewer black residents in Ann Arbor? I guess you can quit calling the city a cradle of diversity.


Thu, Mar 24, 2011 : 12:41 a.m.

So, increased numbers of Asians doesn't count as diversity?

John B.

Wed, Mar 23, 2011 : 11:16 p.m.

Where do you live? Howell? South Lyon? For this general region, Ann Arbor is the most diverse area, last time I looked. We choose to move into the AA schoool district many years ago so that our children wouldn't go to a 99.75% white, middle-class school (as they would have where we lived previously).


Wed, Mar 23, 2011 : 7:54 p.m.

This reflects the UM administrations policy of globalization of students and visiting scholars from China but is that really the best way to spend US and Michigan tax dollars. Would it not be better to train an engineer who will stay in Michigan or the USA rather than training a Chinese citizen who will take technology back to China and compete with us economically and militarily?


Thu, Mar 24, 2011 : 11:34 a.m.

Amazing Snyder's policies just now being implemented or voted on have effected our population and the U of M since the last census!


Thu, Mar 24, 2011 : 9:25 a.m.

man utd- That is short term thinking on your part and Ricky's. What about the UM engineering graduate who is now CEO of China's third largest manufacturer of solar panels in the world. How many jobs and how much economic net impact might have been contributed if we had not trained him and had trained a Michigan engineer instead?

man utd

Thu, Mar 24, 2011 : 3:40 a.m.

Grye ... you do know that Snyder just slashed education funding, right? Let's pretend we are UoM ... in state students pay ... say 15k a year while out of state students pay 30k ... Snyder just slashed your aid by MILLIONS ... that Michigan kid better be one heck of a scholar or athlete.


Wed, Mar 23, 2011 : 8:33 p.m.

I agree. Need to educate Michigan students and hope they stay in Michigan. Maybe a financial incentive like 50% of your tuition is covered by the State if you stay here for 7 years aftercompleting college.


Wed, Mar 23, 2011 : 6:59 p.m.

Honestly people, do you realy believe these figures are accurate?


Wed, Mar 23, 2011 : 11:33 p.m.


John B.

Wed, Mar 23, 2011 : 11:17 p.m.



Wed, Mar 23, 2011 : 7:15 p.m.

And why wouldn't they be? I know there are more and more vacant houses in my neighborhood.


Wed, Mar 23, 2011 : 6:45 p.m.

Where did those white and black go after they left Ann Arbor?


Wed, Mar 23, 2011 : 11:31 p.m.

they are fleeing the high taxes. Into the townships and bedroom communities where there is fewer taxes and less diversity.


Wed, Mar 23, 2011 : 6:43 p.m.

How is it that the most desirable city in the state lost population? The huge growth rates in suburban Ann Arbor seem to suggest a flawed approach to planing.


Wed, Mar 23, 2011 : 6:29 p.m.

I think it does add to the community. Where I draw the line is teaching has to be done in English with any other language as an elective in the high schools.


Thu, Mar 24, 2011 : 2:42 p.m.

@jcj It's not going to kill you to pick up a little Spanish.


Thu, Mar 24, 2011 : 2:56 a.m.

We do offer foreign language as electives in the middle school. However, none of the academic classes are taught in any language except english. English language learners do not take the regular Language Arts course until they've learned how to speak and read well enough in English to be successful. In the mean time, they learn English from our excellent ESL teachers.


Wed, Mar 23, 2011 : 6:19 p.m.

We moved back to Ann Arbor and made it our home because of the diversity. I wanted my children to be exposed to diversity, so they wouldn't be afraid of things that are different . Our children get exposed to their culture and vice versa. It is a wonderful experience. Those that interact with people that come from different countries, don't feel that we have to "deal" with anything negative. My children go to school with many new students from all over the world, thanks to the U of M. They do not hold the class back or play an inconvenient in anyway. They add richness to our school system by sharing their culture with our children.


Wed, Mar 23, 2011 : 6:04 p.m.

There goes the "Achievement Gap"