The number of Asian and Pacific Islander residents in Douglas County increased more than 150 percent in the past decade, accounting for the largest percentage increase in a minority population category, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Census figures released this week showed that the Asian population in Lawrence rose from 1,006 in 1980 to 2,533 in 1990. The county's Asian population rose from 1,032 in 1980 to 2,581 in 1990.
"I would imagine the increase is directly associated with the University (of Kansas)," said David Guntert, a city planner who uses census figures to predict future trends for Lawrence.
"I'm not really surprised at the increase, when you consider the amount of growth that the city has had since 1980," he said. "It doesn't take much of an increase to have a large percentage increase in a certain population." The census figures show the city's population grew from 52,738 in 1980 to 65,608 in 1990.
ACCORDING TO the new figures, Asians make up 3.86 percent of the city's total population. Whites are about 87 percent of the city's total population, blacks make up about 4.8 percent of the total population and American Indians, Eskimo and Aleuts make up 2.9 percent.
This week, the census bureau released 1990 population figures for the 10 largest cities and counties in the state, including Lawrence and Douglas County, which has a population of 81,798.
The figures included populations by race in the following categories: white; black; American Indian, Eskimo or Aleut; Asian or Pacific Islander; other race; and Hispanic origin.
The totals in all categories except "other race" increased in Lawrence and Douglas County from 1980 to 1990.
The population in the "other race" category decreased from 1,330 to 789 people in the city, and from 1,368 to 847 in the county.
The "other race" category includes people of Middle Eastern descent and other groups not included in categories listed by the census bureau, Guntert said.
Guntert said he and other city officials had not seen the new figures and that it would be difficult to speculate about why the number of people in one category had declined in the city and county.
THE CENSUS bureau reported the following increases and percentage changes for the other categories in Lawrence:
White, 45,895 in 1980; 57,149 in 1990; a 24.5 percent increase.
Black, 2,919 in 1980; 3,192 in 1990; a 9.3 percent increase.
American Indian, Eskimo or Aleut, 1,588 in 1980; 1,945 in 1990; a 22.4 percent increase.
Hispanic origin, 1,433 in 1980; 1,941 in 1990; a 35.4 percent increase.
Douglas County figures in the categories were:
White, 60,422 in 1980; 72,885 in 1990; a 20.6 percent increase.
Black, 3,065 in 1980; 3,324 in 1990; an 8.45 percent increase.
American Indian, Eskimo or Aluet, 1,753 in 1980; 2,161 in 1990; a 23 percent increase.
Hispanic origin, 1,548 in 1980; 2,138 in 1990; a 38 percent increase.
THE LAWRENCE and Douglas County figures, with the exception of the other race category, reflect a state trend of an increase in minority populations.
For example, statewide, the increase in the Asian-Pacific Islander category was 110.6 percent and the increase in people of Hispanic origin was 47.9 percent.
The state recorded a much lower change in the number of whites, an increase of 2.9 percent. But whites are 90 percent of the total state population of 2,477,574.
Guntert said the census figures are used by government and university officials to help determine the number of federal loans and grants they may be eligible to receive from minority needs programs.
He also said the figures are used by various businesses to determine whether their employee base reflects the racial makeup of the community.