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Boston demographics report shows population growth, diversification since 2010

Share of non-Hispanic white population shrank as city added 60,000-plus residents from 2010 to 2017


Boston’s population has grown since 2010, and that population has in turn grown more diverse. At the same time—and perhaps unsurprisingly to everyone—the city has also become more expensive, with the gross monthly rent increasing to $1,541 in 2017 from $1,386 at the start of the decade.

Those are three conclusions from a January 2019 demographics study from the Boston Planning and Development Agency Research Division. The report crunched data from 2010 to 2017.

The below chart tells the story regarding the city’s population, which grew unevenly to 683,015 in 2017 from 621,383 in 2010. Nearly 90 percent of these residents in 2017 had been living in the same place the year before or had moved from within Suffolk County, of which Boston takes up the majority.

The BPDA analysis also showed a racially and ethnically diversifying city so far this decade. The share of the city’s foreign-born population was up to 29.3 in 2017, from 26.9 percent in 2010. And the share of the non-Hispanic white population declined to 43.9 percent in 2017 from 47.6 percent in 2010.

Also, Boston remains an exceptionally educated city. More than 1 in 5 residents had a graduate or a professional degree in 2017, up from just under the proportion in 2010. More than one-quarter of residents had at least an undergraduate degree in 2017.

As far as household income, it has been a good decade so far for every bracket. In 2017 dollars, each quintile’s mean household income increased at least 17 percent, the BPDA research says, with the greatest gain coming at the lowest end.