EDITED FOR CLARITY
Last week, the hub-bub on UHub was about Boston's changing demographics and the rise in the number of the college and post-college aged residents flooding the city.
The Boston Globe article that started the online conversation was about the rise in the 20-34 year old population, citywide level, but if you look at US Census Bureau data on a micro-level, there have been other significant shifts in population during the past two decades of equal or more significance.
What about on a neighborhood level?
I've put a series of charts up on Flickr, 17 in total, breaking down neighborhood populations by age group. (data on bar charts, here.)These are the age groups reported by the US Census Bureau. I took the data from the Boston Redevelopment Authority. (If you want to see the data from which I made the charts and download a set for yourself, go to my Google spreadsheets, here.)
What does it all mean? I'll leave it up to readers to interpret and to draw conclusions, but here's a couple questions to whet your appetites. For example: Does it matter that there are fewer people living in the outer neighborhoods? Is it a bad thing that the apartments being built in downtown Boston are all "luxury highrises" if that's where the population is rising? Why does the Boston public school budget keep going up if the number of students keeps going down? Why are we losing some of our 35-44 year old residents?
The first thing that popped out for me involved the percentage of people living in the city, in certain neighborhoods, of college age and older, and how they would have a lot of political power, if they voted and if they went to neighborhood association meetings.
Fenway, on a bar chart:
Looking at The Fenway, for example - probably 30-40% of residents are either undergraduate or graduate students, or just a couple years out of school. Yet, if you go to a neighborhood meeting, all you'll see are a bunch of grey-haired folk talking about the negative effects of institutional growth. The squeeky wheel gets the grease.
What does the data tell you?