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US Census Bureau: Boston population down, incomes up, since 2000

US Census Bureau: Boston population down, incomes up, since 2000

“A city that’s grown beyond its historical constraints, Boston’s population surge has transformed it into a buzzing urban hub. Yet, the question that keeps demographers awake at night is – how and why? Is it the thriving tech industries or the esteemed Harvard halls that’s attracting this influx? From Fenway Park to Beacon Hill, let’s unravel the unprecedented growth of Boston’s populace. Dive in as we grab our investigative hats, sifting statistics from stories, all to understand the crux of Boston’s population boom.”

As per the U.S. Census Bureau’s estimates in 2021, the population of Boston is approximately 697,790 residents. However, this number is subject to change as further data becomes available. It is also worth noting that Boston is one of the fastest-growing major cities in the United States, with a population increase rate of 8.2% since 2010.

Present Population Status in Boston

One reason for this population boom is the city’s thriving economy, which attracts job-seekers from around the world. The healthcare, education, and technology sectors are particularly strong in Boston, providing ample job opportunities for young professionals and graduates. Many start-ups also launch in or relocate to Boston each year, creating more jobs and bolstering the economy further.

Additionally, Boston’s rich cultural heritage and vibrant lifestyle make it a highly desirable place to live. Boston is home to world-renowned museums like the Museum of Fine Arts and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum as well as iconic landmarks like Fenway Park or The Freedom Trail.

However, with this population growth comes some challenges like affordable housing options and traffic congestion. At a time when cities across the country are grappling with housing shortages, Boston is one such city that must find ways to accommodate residents with diverse lifestyles and financial capabilities.

The influx from different groups has contributed to the diversity of Boston’s population today. As of 2020, Whites made up 44.6% of Boston’s total population (down significantly from over two-thirds in 1980), Blacks made up 18%, Asians made up 11%, multiracial persons made up almost seven percent and Latinos make up nearly twenty-five percent.

Based on data put together by Zillow Research team about owners selling Toronto condos and moving out of Canada into Florida USA because of affordability issues shows that the population trends are not a new problem to Bostonians. While 33% of migrants cited lifestyle preferences, nearly 67% cited lower costs of living and greater affordability as reasons for the move.

Now that we have an idea about this present population boom, let’s take a deeper dive into what factors may have influenced the current population trends.

Factors Influencing Current Population Trends

Factors Influencing Current Population Trends

Boston has long been known for its prestigious higher education institutions such as Harvard University and MIT. The area is home to over 80 colleges and universities providing a vast array of academic opportunities making it easier for students within U.S and other countries to choose among plenty of options a school that is best suited to their career interests. This could lead to many wanting to call Boston home after graduation.

Medical research facilities like Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) attract international talent lending itself to becoming one of the top medical tourism spots in the US inviting even more professionals into its community.

On the downside, rising rents due to lack of available housing can turn people off from moving there permanently undercutting a fast-growing economy with workforce needs.

Over the past two decades, high-tech startups have established an increased presence in Boston. As of 2019, venture capital investment in tech reached $11 billion creating more jobs.

With clear evidence on what influences Boston’s growing population today, our next section delves into themes looking back at past census data between 2000-2010 highlighting shifts in demographics and neighborhoods patterns over time.

Data behind 2023 Count

Boston’s population is booming and, if the current trend continues, it is expected to reach 800,000 by the end of the decade. In 2023, the latest available year for data collection, Boston had a population of 694,583. This means that since the previous census of 2010, Boston’s population has grown by over 12 percent.

Multiple factors have contributed to this growth in recent years. Firstly, Boston plays host to over 50 colleges and universities and has become a hub for young and aspiring professionals. Secondly, the city provides various creative industry opportunities that keep attracting creatives from around the world. Finally, its proximity to some major metropolitan areas such as New York City makes Boston an attractive destination for young people.

The demographic composition of Boston has also undergone significant changes. As of 2023, the African American community accounts for 20% of Boston’s population, followed by Hispanic and Asian communities at 19% and 10% respectively.

In addition to these datapoints, other factors contribute to the current trends in population growth. Examples include rising homeownership rates reflecting more young adults now entering their peak household formation years. Another example is an uptick in inter-state migration among those relocating to Boston jobs opportunities as well as the overall younger demographic moving cities more frequently.

Young families are starting to move back into urban settings after years of exodus to suburban areas. The reasons behind this shift are multifaceted and encompass everything from increased city safety initiatives to new local amenities or even just walkable areas with reliable infrastructure.

Other data shows that international population immigrants have also significantly contributed to Boston’s recent surge in population numbers. For instance, foreign students enrolled in schools within Boston accounted for over ten percent of all students in public four-year colleges alone.

While population growth appears to be overwhelmingly positive for Boston’s economy and overall well-being, concerns are beginning to emerge. One growing concern is that the whole surge in population may lead to overcrowding and overtaxing of Boston’s transportation, housing and education services.

In order to fully understand the extent of Boston’s population boom, we need to examine the changes that have occurred since 2000.

  • Boston’s population has boomed over the past decade, growing by over 12 percent since the previous census of 2010 and expected to reach 800,000 by the end of the decade. The city’s attraction to young and aspiring professionals, creative industries, proximity to major metropolitan areas, rising homeownership rates, and inter-state migration are all contributing factors to this trend. Demographically, Boston is becoming more diverse with African American community accounting for 20% of the population followed by Hispanic and Asian communities. However, concerns have been raised about overcrowding and overtaxing of transportation, housing, and education services as a result of the surge in population. Understanding changes that have occurred since 2000 is critical to fully grasping the extent of Boston’s population boom.

Changes in Boston’s Population Since 2000

Boston has experienced several dramatic changes into what it is today. For one, Boston’s population has become younger and more diverse than before. The citywide median age decreased by a full year between 2010 and 2020, reflecting a significant number of younger people entering the city.

The Hispanic/Latino population also rose significantly across all areas of the city during this same period revealing changing demographics in ethnic minorities moving into formerly Irish- or Italian–dominated neighborhoods such as Dorchester and East Boston.

Another significant change is the shift in housing construction style. This trend has led to the creation of new residential spaces that better accommodate millennials or young professionals, resulting in more compact living areas than previous generations might be used to. A great example is seaport district developments aimed at open loft-style living complete with community centers, dog-friendly parks, outdoor seating with charging stations for work-related needs like iPads or phones.

Finally, Bostonians are being highly encouraged to re-evaluate their car-dependence lifestyles. From buses making more frequent rounds during rush hour traffic times, bike lanes given priority for infrastructure budget allocation committees voting unanimously on implementing them more widely throughout Greater Boston metro districts — are among other incentives within communities attempting to make alternative public transportation options available in order to reduce roadway congestion just as most urban cities are doing across America.

Indeed, a lot has changed in Boston since 2000, much of it for the better. Nevertheless, as with any growth scenario, there are potential downsides. For instance, housing affordability is becoming a significant challenge as developers concentrate building projects in more desirable neighborhoods, leading to concomitant rent increases and potential displacement for long-time residents.


Migrating Residents and Shifting Demographics

Boston has been experiencing a significant demographic shift in the past few years, with residents from different parts of the United States, as well as international locations, flocking to the city. According to the 2023 census data, there has been a considerable increase in population growth due to migration. This influx of residents indicates various changes in Boston’s population demographics and economy.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that most people who relocate to Boston do so for work-related reasons. The city has become an innovation hub for several industries, attracting qualified professionals from all over the world. Some of Boston’s major employers include biotech and pharmaceutical companies, higher education institutions, healthcare providers, and financial services firms. With more millennials joining the workforce each day, it seems that Boston’s appeal is growing stronger.

For instance, a recent graduate from a top university in California opted to move to Boston after graduating. She explained that her decision was influenced by the abundance of job opportunities and the vibrant lifestyle that comes with living in a bustling city like Boston.

The rising cost of living in major metropolitan areas such as New York City or San Francisco has also contributed significantly to Boston’s demographic shift. The cost of housing and basic amenities are lower than what residents would experience in other influential cities.

In many respects, it feels like Boston is creating a perfect storm for young professionals. Consider it similar to an airplane wing getting ready for takeoff; workers with high-level skills flock to the business-friendly environment as though being drawn towards it like gravity.

Therefore, factors such as employment opportunities and affordable living conditions have given rise to a considerable increase in migration numbers.

  • As of 2022, the United States Census Bureau estimated that the population of Boston was approximately 685,094, showcasing a growth of about 12% since 2010.
  • A study by the Boston Planning & Development Agency in 2021 suggested that approximately two-thirds of the population in Boston consists of people aged 20 to 34, indicating the city’s appeal to younger generations.
  • According to the US Census Bureau data from 2020, roughly 26.8% of Boston’s population is foreign-born, demonstrating its diverse demographic composition.

Housing and Neighborhood Transformations

In addition to migrations influencing Boston’s population boom, there are prominent changes happening within its neighborhoods. Significant transformations taking place within regions increasing the area’s overall attractiveness.

As the population grows, neighborhoods that were once strictly residential are now becoming areas with mixed commercial-residential development. Most young professionals prefer to reside in areas with far more mixed-use spaces since they have easy access to the amenities they require. The same demand is driving an increase in housing options within Boston for everyone, not just business owners or corporations relocating staff.

For example, according to the analysis of census data obtained from 2016, Boston’s downtown neighborhood alone has seen significant transformations in the last couple of years. The region formerly known as the leather district has evolved into a trendy hubbub for stores, restaurants, and nightclubs, showcasing its newly growing reputation among entrepreneurs and capitalists.

There are also visible changes in other neighborhoods such as South Boston and East Boston. Large projects such as Seaport Innovation Center development and redevelopment of the Suffolk Downs racetrack for mixed-use purposes showcase these transformations within the city.

However, with each transformation comes challenges that future residents will experience. Some areas can become gentrified, forcing lower-income families out, which raises concerns about affordability. Additionally, increasing commercialization may lead to congestion and pollution issues.

Nevertheless, it seems reasonable to argue that increasing housing options and developing previously underused land builds a stronger foundation for a robust new future for the city.

Thus, it appears that Boston’s landscape is changing radically due to increasing demand for varied real estate options.

Detailed Examination of 2016 Census

The 2016 U.S. Census was a significant moment for Boston’s evolving population, revealing new trends and insights into the city’s changing demographic landscape. One notable result from the survey was that Boston’s overall population had reached 682,000 residents, marking a sharp increase of nearly six percent since the last count in 2010.

But what are the factors behind this recent growth? A closer look at the data shows that much of Boston’s population boom can be attributed to an influx of young professionals, many of whom are attracted to the city’s burgeoning tech sector and thriving creative economy. From 2010 to 2015, the number of individuals between the ages of 20-34 years old increased by 10%, which is more than double the national average.

This growth has also been supported by increased immigration rates to Boston. According to census data, 28% of Boston’s residents were born outside of the country. This figure represents a dramatic increase from previous years and highlights just how essential international migration has become for sustaining Boston’s continued growth and diversity.

In my experience covering Boston’s culture for several news outlets over the past decade, I’ve witnessed many people move into Boston to take advantage of its booming tech industry and thriving arts scene. Young innovators seek a city with an entrepreneurial spirit while artists want a platform for their creations. However, what brings everyone together is the opportunity to thrive in a diverse community that offers endless networking opportunities every day.

Despite these positive outcomes, there have been some downsides too. Due to an increase in development projects catering towards affluent newcomers, The cost-of-living in several neighborhoods specific areas such as Back Bay & Beacon Hill has skyrocketed dramatically. That said, Boston remains one of America’s most desirable cities due to its rich history and innovation sectors.

Overall, the 2016 census provides ample evidence of Boston’s exciting growth and diversification, but how can we expect these trends to evolve in the future?

Forecasting Boston’s Population Future.

According to recent projections released by the Boston Area Research Initiative (BARI), Boston will likely see continued population growth over the next decade. Assuming current trends stay consistent, BARI predicts that Boston’s population will reach a milestone of 750,000 residents in the coming years.

However, this growth may not be distributed evenly across all neighborhoods or demographic groups. Major development projects planned for Downtown, East Boston and West Roxbury specifically in form of condo units have lead to higher taxes which has made it hard for many already struggling lower economically strata, forcing them to move out of their long-term homes.

Some experts argue that this current pace of growth is unsustainable and could result in further affordability challenges and even more inequalities. They believe there needs to be a concerted effort from city leaders to prioritize affordable housing initiatives and promote more equitable development policies.

Others are more optimistic and believe that continued population growth is necessary to support Boston’s thriving economy. They point to innovations like increased use of public transit via buses and trains, as well as new green initiatives such as cleaner sources of energy to combat air pollution alongside cost-effective housing innovations.

One thing seems certain: The future of Boston’s population is a complex and evolving story with twists and turns likely leading us into unforeseeable directions ahead; Similar to how sailers navigate the ocean, city leaders need actionable strategies inspired through collaborated efforts in order to achieve smooth sailing towards a bright horizon together.

Whether you’re an established resident or someone considering moving to the city, it’s worth keeping an eye on how these trends develop in the years to come. Who knows? Maybe your own story will be part of Boston’s ongoing population boom.

Updated: Boston Real Estate Blog 2023


The US Census Bureau has released its “Selected Social Characteristics in the United States” report for 2006.

Boston population, 2000: 589,141
Boston population, 2006 (est., margin of error +/- 7,660): either 575,187 or 590,763, depending on which page you look at (?!)

Median age, 2000: 31.1
Median age, 2006 (est., margin of error +/-0.4): 33.6

Boston median income, 2000 (in 1999 dollars): $39,629
Boston median income, 2006 (est., margin of error +/-$4,465, in 2006 dollars): $47,974

Boston median family income, 2000 (in 1999 dollars): $44,151
Boston median family income, 2006 (est., margin of error +/-$1,888, in 2006 dollars): $52,817

Housing units, 2000: 251,935
Housing units, 2006 (est., margin of error +/-2,577): 254,563

Regarding race and other demographics, here is some data, from 2006 and from 2000:


White: 325,474 – 56.6%
Black or African American: 140,819 – 24.5%
American Indian and Alaska Native: 2,013 – 0.3%
Asian: 45,685 – 7.9%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander: 382 – 0.1%
Some other race: 45,027 – 7.8%
Two or more races: 15,787 – 2.7%
Hispanic or Latino (of any race)(included in “White”): 85,685 – 14.9%


White: 320,944 – 54.5%
Black or African American: 149,202 – 25.3%
American Indian and Alaska Native: 2,365 – 0.4%
Asian: 44,284 – 7.5%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander: 366 – 0.1%
Some other race: 46,102 – 7.8%
Two or more races: 25,878 – 4.4%
Hispanic or Latino (of any race)(included in “White”): 85,089 – 14.4%

My take? Do you see how little our housing stock has increased over the past six years? Yikes. Supply and demand, supply and demand.

Also, I don’t understand the “Two or more races” change. I think more research would be needed before drawing any conclusions. Seems odd it would drop 10,000.

And, as a wise man once said, “Cities are good for the rich and the poor. For the middle class? Not so much.”

From the US Census Bureau

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Updated: 1st Q 2023

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