As Rockville has grown dramatically in the past decade, its population has gotten older, with a more diverse ethnic and racial mix.
The city and its Human Rights Commission hosted a discussion of Rockville’s changing demographic profile June 18 at the Twinbrook Community Center, detailing the city’s evolving character.
Median household income was reported at $96,650 in 2011 dollars — above both the state and national average — although the number varies widely among groups. For example, whites were at the top end, with $102,265, followed by people of South or East Asian descent, $87,955; Hispanics, $76,108; and blacks: $59,651.
David Smith, former chairman of the city’s Human Rights Commission, was moderator of the event, with the census information presented by Nesreen Khashan of the Census Bureau.
To promote tolerance, people need to get an idea of what is really going on with the city’s population, Smith said.
From 1990 to 2000, Rockville’s population grew 5.5 percent, from 44,835 to 47,388.
But in the following decade, its population soared by more than 25 percent to 61,285, with an estimate of 64,072 for 2013.
From 2000 to 2010, the percentage of residents younger than 5 stayed essentially flat, while the number of residents older than 65 increased from 13.1 percent to 14 percent.
And in the same time frame, the number of residents 85 and older more than doubled, from 806 to 1,615.
The aging population brings challenges, especially with 30 percent of residents 65 and older reporting some sort of walking, vision, hearing or cognitive disability, Khashan said.
Rockville’s ethnic racial composition has changed significantly, too, from 61.9 percent non-Hispanic white in 2000 to 52.8 percent in 2010. Likewise, the city’s black population fell from 9.9 percent to 9.6 percent.
But the percentage of people of East or South Asian descent rose from 16.1 percent to 20.6 percent, while the Hispanic population grew from 11.7 percent to 14.3 percent.
In the 2010 census, Rockville had the fourth-most East or South Asian residents in Maryland, ranking behind Germantown, Ellicott City and Baltimore.
The city’s number of residents of Chinese descent residents jumped dramatically in 12 years, rising steeply from 2,888 in 2000 to 5,270 in from 2010 and 2012.
Among Hispanics, by far the largest increase was among Salvadoran residents, whose numbers increased from 1,046 in the 2000 census to 3,508 in the community survey for 2010-12.
Councilwoman Virginia Onley said that in light of the aging population, she’d like to see the city try to attract more businesses that could appeal to young people and try to draw them to the city.