On the Monterey Peninsula (Monterey, Pacific Grove, Del Rey Oaks, Carmel and Pebble Beach), the mixed-race population nearly tripled, 2020 Census data shows.

Already a diverse salad bowl, Monterey County has become more racially diverse over the last decade, according to recently released data from the 2020 census.

Now boasting a population of 439,035 people, the county’s growth rate of about 6 percent over the last decade tracks with the state as a whole, now at 39.5 million people. Monterey County lost 31 percent of its white population and 22 percent of its Black population. White people now account for about 36 percent of the county’s total, down from 56 percent in 2010; the Black population dropped roughly from 3 percent to 2 percent.

The county saw the largest increase in people who identify as two or more races. The mixed-race population nearly quadrupled, and now accounts for 18 percent of the population, up from about 5 percent in 2010. Monterey County also saw an influx of people identifying as American Indian and Alaska Native, which now total nearly 12,800 people, an increase of about 134 percent.

Ethnically, the region remains a Latino stronghold, with 60.4 percent of the population identifying as Hispanic or Latino, up from 55.4 percent a decade ago.

At 16 percent, Greenfield saw the most growth of any city in the county and now has a population of about 19,000 people, up from about 16,300 in 2010. Marina came in second, with a growth rate of 13.4 percent and now claims about 22,400 residents. Carmel-by-the-Sea saw the most significant contraction at 13.5 percent, a loss of about 500 residents; its population is now 3,220.

The most nominal change was in Pacific Grove, whose population grew only 0.33 percent to 15,090.

Salinas, Seaside and Monterey remain Monterey County’s most populous cities, at 163,542, 32,366 and 30,218, respectively. Salinas and Monterey each saw a growth rate of 8.7 percent while Seaside shrank by 2 percent. In Salinas, the white and Black populations fell roughly by 46 percent and 24 percent, respectively.

White people now account for 23 percent of residents in Salinas, down from about 46 percent in 2010. Those identifying as American Indian or Alaska Native nearly tripled, from about 1,900 to 5,500 people. However, the largest increase in Salinas was the mixed-race population, which more than quadrupled from about 7,600 to 33,400 people and now account for more than 20 percent of residents, up from 5 percent in 2010.

Monterey saw its Black population grow by about 23 percent while its white population fell by nearly 7 percent. Like Salinas and much of the county, the largest single increase was in the mixed-race category, which grew by about 165 percent and now accounts for more than 12 percent of Monterey’s population, up from about 5 percent.

In Seaside, the Black and white populations each fell by about one-third. White people now make up about 35 percent of the population, down from roughly 48 percent in 2010, while the Black portion of the population fell from 8.4 percent to 5.8 percent. The second largest racial group are those identifying as mixed race, at about 29 percent.

Greenfield, King City and Soledad saw some of the most significant jumps in people identifying as multiple races. In Greenfield they increased eight-fold; in King City and Soledad, they more than quadrupled.

Christopher Neely covers a mixed beat that includes the environment, water politics, and Monterey County's Board of Supervisors. He began at the Weekly in 2021 after five years on the City Hall beat in Austin, TX.

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