Fairfield's population not only gained, but became more diverse, over the last decade, according to data released this week by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Those trends, the town's Economic Development Director Mark Barnhart said, were expected.

"I don't think there are any real surprises there. Every year there's an update," Barnhart said, "so we anticipated a slight increase in population." The pace of the rate of increase, however, he said, has slowed from the prior 10 years.

While the town's overall population grew 3.60 percent, from 57,340 to 59,404, the number of white residents declined from 54,630 in 2000 to 54,409. The numbers of African American, Asian and Hispanic residents rose. "Statewide, there is increased diversity," Barnhart said, "and we would expect to some extent to mirror those numbers" in Fairfield.

The number of town residents who identify themselves as Hispanic charted the biggest increase, from 1,340 in 2000 to 2,999 in 2010, a gain of 123.81 percent.

More Information

Following is a brief outtake of the Fairfield 2010 data released Wednesday by the U.S. Census Bureau: Total population 2010 -- 59,404 2000 -- 57,340 Change = 3.60% gain White 2010 -- 54,409 2000 -- 54,630 Change = 0.40% decline African American 2010 -- 1,089 2000 -- 623 Change = 74.80% gain Asian 2010 -- 2,203 2000 --1,171 Change = 88.13% gain Other 2010 -- 1,703 2000 -- 916 Change = 85.92% gain Hispanic 2010 -- 2,999 2000 -- 1,340 Change = 123.81% gain

Over all, Barnhart said, the town uses the census data to guide some of planning. "Particularly in my area, how we allocate the fund resources we receive through the Community Development Block Grant," he said.

When the complete census results are released, he said, "It does provide a wealth of information that helps us with some of these decisions."

Local businesses also use the data, Barnhart said, for example to help target certain populations or eventual customers. "We get a variety of requests for the census data or for information derived from the census," he said. "It's used in a variety of different ways."

The census data also show that while the total number of housing units increased, so did the number of vacant units. The total number of Fairfield units rose from 21,008 in 2000 to 21,648, while the number of occupied units went from 20,377 to 20,457. The total number of vacant units, however, increased from 631 to 1,191.

FAIRFIELD CENSUS SNAPSHOT

Following is a brief outtake of the Fairfield 2010 data released Wednesday by the U.S. Census Bureau:

Total population

2010 -- 59,404

2000 -- 57,340

Change = 3.60% gain

White

2010 -- 54,409

2000 -- 54,630

Change = 0.40% decline

African American

2010 -- 1,089

2000 -- 623

Change = 74.80% gain

Asian

2010 -- 2,203

2000 --1,171

Change = 88.13% gain

Other

2010 -- 1,703

2000 -- 916

Change = 85.92% gain

Hispanic

2010 -- 2,999

2000 -- 1,340

Change = 123.81% gain