While the total population of Richfield has remained around 35,000 over the past decade, the city has experienced major demographic shifts, according to the 2005-09 American Community Survey (ACS).
The survey was conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau between 2005-2009 and is a more current estimate of the changes in demographic, population and housing changes since the last census in 2000.
The population of every race group increased, with the exception of the white population. The largest jump being in the Latino or Hispanic population, which rose from 6.3 to 14 percent. The white population, while still the majority, decreased from 81.2 to 70.9 percent, according to the survey.
Richfield's close proximity to Minneapolis and easy access to transit make it an attractive community to live in, according to . In addition to key location, Goettel said the city's affordability and the community's openness to minority or immigrant residents adds to its appeal and has contributed to the demographic shift.
"I think Richfield is very welcoming," she said. "We've always been a melting pot … I think we have an affordable housing stock and we also have established churches in neighborhoods that offer support [to new minority or immigrant residents.]"
As a result of the demographic shift, the percent of people speaking a language other than English at home rose 8 percent since 2000 as well.
In addition to demographic changes, the median home value and number of occupied homes decreased. The 2000 census showed Richfield housing was 98.1 percent occupied by either an owner or tenant. Now that percent has dropped to 94.1, according to the survey. The median single-family home value dropped almost a whopping $100,000, in the same time period, from $222,200 to $128,500. Without a doubt, the country's tough economic times and the housing crisis contributed to the decrease, according to Goettel.
"[Job loss and] foreclosures have hit everybody … and people are doubling up and houses are becoming overcrowded because they can't afford another option," she said.
John Stark, director of the Richfield Community Development Department, added that while the housing shift and number of foreclosures are disturbing many other cities have had to face this over the past couple years.
Further, the percentage of families living in poverty has increased more than 40 percent from 3.9 percent in 2000 to 6.6 percent today, according to the survey.
"These are tough, tough times," Goettel said.
Other survey findings were:
- The senior population, 65 years and older, decreased from 16.4 to 14.3 percent;
- The civilian veterans population, 18 years of age and older, increased from 11 to 14 percent;
- The number of residents who have a bachelor's degree increased from 27.3 to 32.6 percent.
To see the full survey results report, click here.