Salem’s population barely changed during the past decade — at least on the surface.
The U.S. Census counted only 55 more people in the city in 2010 than in 2000 — 24,802 to be precise.
That’s not unusual; Salem’s population has been remarkably stable since it first became a city on New Year’s Eve 1967.
Beneath that number, there obviously were changes that are harder to count — births, deaths, people moving in, people moving out. One stat that can be counted, though: What population growth Salem did have can be attributed to an increase in the Hispanic population.
The city’s Hispanic population increased by 396 during the past decade, so that more than accounts for the city’s overall increase.
In all, the census counted 601 Hispanics in Salem, up from 205 in 2000, so the city’s Hispanic population more than doubled. Hispanics now comprise just over 2 percent of Salem’s population.
By contrast, Hispanics constitute 5 percent of Roanoke’s population — and more than 30 perdcent of the population in two Northern Virginia cites, Manassas and Manassas Park.
Otherwise, the census saw only modest changes in Salem’s population. The white population declined by 866; the black population increased by 308 and the Asian population increased by 161.
On a percentage basis, the census found that Salem is 88 percent white, 7 percent black and just under 2 percent Asian, with the remainder falling into other categories.
Salem’s population through the years:1970 – 21,982
1980 – 23,958
1990 – 23,756
2000 – 24,747
2004 — 24,802
Source: U.S. Census