Boston is the capital and largest city in Massachusetts in the United States. It's also the largest city in New England and represents the 23rd largest city in the US. Boston was founded in 1630, making it one of the oldest cities in the country, and it was the scene of many important events in the American Revolution. Today, the city is an international center for medicine and higher learning.
This city of 90 square miles is home to one of the most densely populated regions in the United States. The city had a population of 618,000 people in 2010, which has increased to approximately 667,137 in 2016.
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.
Population Density in Boston
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.
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 colossal 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 critical to the state's growth over the past ten 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 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.