Boston Population 2017

The city of Boston is home to an estimated 667,137 people in 2016, although the Greater Boston area is home to an estimated 4.7 million, making it the 10th largest metropolitan area in the United States. As a commuting region, Greater Boston has an even larger population of 8.1 million, which makes it the 6th largest Combined Statistical Area in the country.

Boston has a density of 13,841 people per square mile (5,344/square kilometer), and Greater Boston is the 4th most densely populated region in the United States, after New York Metro Area, Greater Los Angeles and South Florida Metro Area. Somerville, a city just north of Boston and included in its metropolitan area, has the highest population density of 18,431.6 people per square mile.

Interestingly, Boston's actual population fluctuates rapidly between day and night, as well as during special events. It's estimated that 1.2 million people are in the city during work hours, and 2 million during special events in the city, as hundreds of thousands of residents in the suburbs commute to the city for education, health care and work.

Boston Demographics

According to the 2010 Census, the racial/ethnic makeup of Boston was as follows:

  • White: 53.9% (non-Hispanic: 47%)
  • Black or African American: 24.4%
  • Native American: 0.4%
  • Asian: 8.9%
  • Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 0.0%
  • Two or more: 3.9%
  • Hispanic or Latino of any race: 17.5%

Whites represented a 94.7% majority of the city's population in 1950, but the percentage of non-Hispanic whites in the region declined for much of the next 50 years. By 2000, non-Hispanic whites accounted for just 49.5% of the population, which made Boston a majority-minority city for the first time in its history. Over the last decade, the city has experienced a great deal of gentrification, and the percentage of non-Hispanic whites was starting to grow. By 2010, this trend reversed once more, partially due to the housing crash, and the minority population rebounded in Boston.

The single largest ethnic group in Boston is Irish, which accounts for 15.8% of the population, followed by Italians with 8.3% of the population. Those of West Indian ancestry account for 6% of Boston's population, and some areas have seen a great deal of immigration from Vietnam recently, while other areas are seeing an increase in the number of Dominican Americans. South Asians account for a substantial amount of Boston's immigration, and the city has the 10th largest Indian population in the United States.

There are also about 25,000 Jews in Boston, or 227,000 in its metropolitan area, while nearby communities like Newton are nearly one-third Jewish.

Boston Population Growth

Boston is experiencing huge growth lately thanks to an immigration boom, and the Boston area gained close to 55,000 residents in the two years following the 2010 Census, according to 2013 estimates from the Census Bureau. This is also the first time Boston's population has passed 600,000 since the 1970s.

While the state's population growth of 1.5% is just behind the nation's rate of 1.7%, Massachusetts as a whole is still doing better than most of the country, and it's now the fastest growing state in the Northeast.

It seems most of the growth in the state is comprised of immigrants, who have been important to the state's growth over the past 10 years. Without immigration, the state's population would have declined.

In 1990, Boston's population was 20% foreign born, but this number has grown to 27% and shows signs of increasing. Recent immigrants to the area come mostly from Latin America and Asia, and many are coming for the science and technology jobs.

Thanks to this immigration boom, Boston's population is also growing younger, as nearly one-third of its residents are 20-34, which is younger than most other major cities in the country.

Boston is growing at its fastest rate in decades, which is transforming the city with more than 5,000 homes in development. While immigrants and young families are moving to Boston, so too are major companies, which are attracted by talented workers in the region.

To keep up with this rapid growth, Boston is now attempting to rapidly expand housing with plans for 30,000 new housing units by 2020. The city's population growth rate of 3.1% is expected to continue through at least 2020, reaching around 780,000 to 790,000 by the next Census in 2020.

Year Population Change
2015 667,137 8.00%
2010 617,594 4.80%
2000 589,141 2.60%
1990 574,283 2.00%
1980 562,994 -12.20%
1970 641,071 -8.10%
1960 697,197 -13.00%
1950 801,444 4.00%
1940 770,816 -1.30%
1930 781,188 4.40%
1920 748,060 11.60%
1910 670,585 19.60%
1900 560,892 25.10%
1890 448,477 23.60%
1880 362,839 44.80%
1870 250,526 40.90%
1860 177,840 29.90%
1850 136,881 46.60%
1840 93,383 52.10%
1830 61,392 41.80%
1820 43,298 28.10%
1810 33,787 35.50%
1800 24,937 36.10%
1790 18,320 0.00%

Boston Population in 2017 Source: Riptor3000 at English Wikipedia

Boston Race Data

Race Population Percentage
White 340,859 53.29%
Black or African American 160,342 25.07%
American Indian and Alaska Native 2,515 0.39%
Asian 58,545 9.15%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 68 0.01%
Some Other Race 47,341 7.40%
Two or More Races 29,924 4.68%

Population Pyramid

Boston Housing Indicators

Indicator Value
Total Housing Units 278,521
Owner-Occupied Units 87,958
Renter-Occupied Units 168,336
Median Home Value $393,600
Median Rent $1,320
Vacancy Rate 8%
Houses With Mortgage 66,379
Houses Without Mortgage 21,579
Median Number of Rooms (per House) 4.3

This chart shows the employment and labor force participation rates in Boston for residents over 16 years of age. The 2015 unemployment rate is 5.9% and the labor force participation rate is 68.4%.

Boston Family/Household Indicators

Indicator Value
Average Household Size 2.35
Average Family Size 3.16
Married Couple Families 68,440
Male Householder (no wife) Families 11,009
Female Householder (no husband) Families 43,365
Non Family Households
Unmarried Partner Households (Opposite Sex) 6.2%
Unmarried Partner Households (Same Sex) 1%