Census data shows more diversity, fewer children in Wilton

Wilton Town Hall

Wilton Town Hall

Jeannette Ross / Hearst Connecticut Media

WILTON — While the town’s total population has mostly held steady over the past decade, the diversity of its makeup has been stark in certain areas, according to data released from the U.S. Census Bureau on Thursday.

Wilton’s total population in 2020 was recorded at 18,503, about a 2.4 percent boost from the town’s 18,062 total in 2010 and a slight increase from 2019.

In 2010, Wilton’s non-white population accounted for 10 percent of its citizenry. In 2020, that number nearly doubled to 19.6 percent, having jumped from 1,807 residents who identified as “non-white” to 3,627.

“One, it’s no surprise. We’ve known that. That is something we’ve seen,” First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice said. “In my letter about some of the housing legislation this year, I’ve pointed that out.”

The first selectwoman contended that an increase in multifamily housing options since the start of the decade has been a key factor in providing diversity growth opportunities. The town’s Planning and Zoning Commission regularly reviews applications for multifamily housing developments and Vanderslice said that, with more housing options in town, residential diversity can continue to increase in the coming years.

The town’s Hispanic and Asian communities saw the most growth. In 2010, there were 537 residents who identified as Hispanic, or about 3 percent of the town’s total population. In 2020, that total jumped to 916, a 70.6 percent increase, and now accounts for 5 percent of the town’s total population in the latest data gathered.

Fairfield County’s Hispanic population increased at a near 32.5 percent rate in the same time, jumping from 155,025 to 205,351 residents.

Meanwhile, Wilton’s Asian population jumped from 821 in 2010 to 1,612 in 2020 — a 96 percent increase. The town’s Asian community now accounts for 8.7 percent of its total citizenry.

“Part of the growth in the Asian population, I think, is because we have the Hindu Temple,” Vanderslice said of the Wilton Hindu Temple on Westport Road. She said the swami provides her with updates when new residents enter the town and join the house of worship.

The town’s Black population has not shared the same growth rate; 164 Black residents were recorded in 2010, but in 2020, that number grew to just 201.

The white population in town fell from 16,255 to 14,876, an 8.5 percent decrease. It was the only population in town that decreased in the 10-year span beyond those who identified as Native, which fell from a total of six to three.

The new census data also asserts that the percentage of Wilton residents under 18 dropped this past decade, from 31.5 percent to 27.4 percent. Concurrently, the town’s over 18 population jumped from 68.5 percent to 72.6 percent.

Vanderslice said school enrollment has declined over the decade, and national trends point to the graduating class of 2009 being larger than any group since.

“Wilton has aged,” she said.