By Christy Goodman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 3, 2011; 10:14 PM
Alexandria was an island of stability in a rapidly changing region, growing more slowly than much of the rest of Northern Virginia and with less dramatic shifts in its racial and ethnic makeup.
The nearly 16-square-mile city's population rose by slightly more than 9 percent to nearly 140,000 between 2000 and 2010, according to data released Thursday by the Census Bureau.
Hispanics and Asians were responsible for much of that growth. The city's Hispanic population grew by nearly 20 percent in the past decade while Asians grew by 16 percent.
About 16 percent of Alexandria's total population is Hispanic, according to the data. Asians make up about 6 percent of the city's population.
The non-Hispanic white population accounts for 53 percent of the city's total. Since 2,000, their numbers grew by nearly 9 percent to 75,000. The total number of blacks grew about 5 percent to nearly 30,000. But the group showed a slight decline, to 21 percent, as a percentage of overall population.
"We won't know until we get the counts later in the year whether it is the African immigrant population or the African American population that has been here for years that is declining or both," said Pat Mann, an urban planner for Alexandria, who also wants to see if the Hispanic population has grown citywide.
The number of children in Alexandria has also been relatively stable over the past 10 years, recovering from a dip in the middle of the decade. There are about 24,000 children in the city, about half of whom are enrolled in the Alexandria city school system, said Margaret Byess, a deputy superintendent of planning and support operations.
One-quarter of the student population is white and a third is African American. Hispanic students make up 27 percent of the student population.