Census: Milford's population growing older, more diverse

A sign on a bridge marking downtown Milford.

A sign on a bridge marking downtown Milford.

Hearst Connecticut Media file photo

MILFORD — In the 10 years from 2010 to 2020, Milford’s population shrank slightly, but grew considerably more diverse.

The 2020 U.S. Census shows the city’s total population dropped from 52,759 to 52,044, a decrease of just under 1.4 percent. These numbers do not include about Woodmont, which is tabulated separately and adds another 1,522 residents to the city’s total.

“The population numbers were about the same as they were 10 years ago,” said Milford Mayor Ben Blake.

The Black population in Milford saw some of the largest population growth since 2010. In the state, the Black population rose by 8 percent from 2010 to 2020. In Milford, the Black population rose from 1,328 in 2010 to 1,653 in 2020, an increase of 24 percent..

The state saw growth in the Hispanic population grew by 30 percent, and the Asian population went up by 27 percent.

Milford’s Asian population grew from 1,862 to 2,821, a 51 percent increase. And the number of city residents identifying as Hispanic increased from 2,756 to 4,111.

People who identify with more than one race increased in Milford going from 851 in 2010 to 3,699 in 2020.

Meanwhile, the white population in Milford decreased by about 10 percent, from 46,989 in 2010 to 42,472 in 2020.

“Nationwide, that is the trend, but certainly Milford is becoming a more diverse community,” said Blake. “It brings more of a world view to Milford, and at the same time, I think it is certainly an enhancement in Milford.”

Throughout the state, the white population has been on the decline over the last 10 years, as the state has grown more diverse. White residents still make up nearly three-quarters of the state, their numbers dropped by 10 percent in the last decade.

The census data also shows that Milford has grown older in the past 10 years, with the number of people 18 and older increasing from 42,209 to 43,544, a rise of just over 3 percent.

“What we did see is that we had an increase in the older residents and even millennial, and some of the school-age population had decreased a bit from 10 years ago, which we knew because there are fewer kids in our schools,” said Blake. “But again, personally, I think that it’s cyclical.”

Blake said one important fact that the census doesn't quite capture is that while the population remained steady, the city has diversified and expanded its business base since 2010.

“Even though our population stayed relatively flat over the last 10 years our grand list has expanded significantly. We became the largest tax base in New Haven County, we’ve had a tremendous surge of commercial development and even last year in the pandemic time, we had 473 new businesses come into town,” said Blake.