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Boston keeps growing

Boston's population continues to grow, according to new estimates released yesterday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

According to them, Boston was home to 673,184 people in 2016.

Our city's population has grown ~8.46 percent since 2010, when there were 620,701 residents, according to the Census.

Boston is now the 22nd-largest US city, moving ahead of Detroit, MI, which is one of only two large cities to lose population during the past 6 years (the other being Baltimore, MD).

There is some evidence that the appeal of large cities may be cresting; according to the Washington Post, suburb growth outpaced city growth last year for the first time since 2010.

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Comments

Four of them have no personal income tax. If you build it, they will come.

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They are also vastly larger in terms of geographic size. Boston is tiny (land mass) as US cities go.

Phoenix = 516.704 sq mi.
Boston = 48.42 sq mi
(Numbers from Wikipedia)

Gee, I wonder why one is growing quicker?

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It's called "up." Only thing stopping that is the FAA and pissy neighbors.

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False. There are many other things stopping it.

First and foremost, tons of Boston's land area is "made land", or, what used to be water, filled in with dirt. Since it's not bedrock, it can only handle so much weight. That's why all of Back Bay (the part from Arlington to Mass ave, and river-ward of Boylston) is no higher than like 4 stories.

Secondly demand. It's expensive to go up- the higher you go, the more expensive. After a certain altitude you start to see diminishing returns.

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The ability of a city to effectively respond to high-rise emergencies is another factor.

While downtown Boston has high-rises, it also has a specialized high-pressure hydrant system, those red-capped hydrants found downtown, that are controlled and piped from a centralized high-pressure pumping system. This si switched on when there is a high-rise fire.

The suburban Boston neighborhoods don't have that infrastructure so buildings are wisely limited to the capabilities of the larger apparatus, which is about 100f (straight extension) but more like 4-5 stories at an angle, and with a safety margin.

Boston's ladder trucks are 100 ft aerials.

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...are in Back Bay. Both around 60 stories.

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Read the comment again. The commenter defined borders. (Although I agree that there are several buildings higher than 4 stories within those borders.)

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Those aren't insurmountable barriers. People would build taller there if they were allowed to. It all boils down to money, and when you can make $$$$ per square foot, you'd build skyscrapers.

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And Boston tends to do a lot more building up than those fast-growing southwestern cities.

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Is that a new band?

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They do a mashup of Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In and What Makes You Beautiful.

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There's never enough parking built. 3 story condos and everyone is still fighting for parking. Until they can find the correct ratio of parking per unit the height of development will be restricted. Preemptive comment: people still like to drive their own vehicles.

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There is no room for parking and never enough transit expansion.

For quality of life and efficiency, we want the transit expansion, not the parking.

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Now how do you fit them into already congested streets? How will that work when narrow sidewalks are widened to accommodate pedestrian spillover?
What about their strollers? Where do they park their bikes? What about their constantly roaming and doubleparked Ubers? Their Peapod and FedX delivery trucks?
How does more parking help anyone with all that?

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See:

DC 61 sq mi
Los Angeles 469 sq mi

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and actual land mass the City of Boston is roughly 50% water and 50% land.The land area is around 48 sq miles. San Francisco is around 46 sq miles in land area, slightly smaller than Boston. Both cities land mass is relatively small by large U.S. cities standard. Not incidently, S.F.and Boston rank #2and #3 as most densely populated large U.S. cities, NYC being #1. Another interesting comparison can be made with a 'booming' southeastern big city, Atlanta. The City of Atlanta is around 130 sq miles in land area, with a population of around 470,000, far smaller than Boston and much less densely populated.Atlanta's suburbs boom, the city itself is pretty stagnant.

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That's a good thing. Otherwise, we might have swaths of dangerous and desolate areas like they do in Chicago, Detroit and Baltimore.

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Honey, if you only knew! Sales tax in one of those "no income tax" states can run to 15-20% of your purchases, depending on county and city add-ons.

I am not joking.

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That's how it should be. Tax me on what I buy, not what I earn.

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Lets hurt the poor and reward the rich!

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It's not that simple, or I'd still be in Seattle. I'd rather pay a personal income tax, and lower sales tax (which hits poor people more), and get the things those taxes are paying for, like schools for my neighbors' kids.

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And if you think Texas is a great state because it has no income tax, may I remind you that their education system is god awful (ironic because their State Dept. of Education likes requiring things like Intelligent Design to be taught as an alternate view to Evolution), their infrastructure is more of a mess than even MA and they have major water issues, due to frequent droughts.

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It should be handing California its lunch in attracting people. It has the beaches, the weather, and the food. Shame that they choose to treat women like cattle.

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Sorry, but that can't be the last word on Texas. Beaches -- you mean the Gulf of Texaco? I prefer swimming in water that's without added lubricants. Weather -- godawfully, unremittingly HOT. Food -- outside of Tex-Mex, what have you got? (And T-M is available in CA, also.) Texas was attracting people when oil was booming, back in the last century. Now? Not so much.

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...their education system is god awful (ironic because their State Dept. of Education likes requiring things like Intelligent Design to be taught as an alternate view to Evolution)

That's not irony. You could have left the word out and it would have made the point better.

Their state school board's idiocy has an effect nationwide, as well, since publishers dislike putting out separate regional editions.

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And Texas and Arizona both rank in the bottom ten in education. You get what you pay for.

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Get what they pay for? I'd argue that public schools can be awful anywhere. I've seen my native Vermont's public schools rated highly, but I attended a lousy middle school.

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But you're just an anecdote, not a trend.

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It is widely recognized that the growth in those places is that they were largely unsettled until the invention of air conditioning. So, lots of open space to build still being fueled by widespread adoption of a technology in the second half of the 20th century.

For instance:

Boston in 1920: 748,060

Houston in 1920: 138,276

Houston's population has grown by 15X, while Boston's is smaller, but Houston still has 1/4 the density of Boston. Of course Houston is close to 10% growth, there is still tons of cheap space to put people that was once uninhabitable.

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It's worth noting how much larger Boston was in the past, particularly with today's discussions of limited housing and transportation.

In 1950 Boston had 801,444 residents -- 120,000 more then today!

2017 Boston is about the same as 1910 Boston which had a population of 670,585.

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I was really thinking we might have hit 700k, though - maybe by 2020 I guess.

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were children under 18. Family sizes back then were much larger. There are plenty of stories out there from Baby Boomer and older Bostonians about how they grew up in families with 4 or 5 or 6 kids in one floor of a three decker.

I would wager there were fewer *adults* in Boston in 1950 than there are today.

Children tend not to use the same resources as adults. An eleven year old isn't commuting to work on the T, nor looking for a parking space, nor standing in line at the supermarket with the week's groceries. That floor of a three decker that accommodated a family of 4-10 people with only two adults probably accommodates at most four unrelated adults today.

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I added a second sheet to my worksheet showing differences in demographics between 1950 and 2010 (don't have ACS for this year on hand; it's Friday).

Yes, population is lower, number of children is lower, average persons per household undoubtedly less (2.3 people per household, if memory serves currently).

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The inverse is true now. 10-20 year old population is way down. But of course we can't close any schools.

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I guess my generalization was slightly off.

2000 v 2015

Under 5 - 32,046 up to 34,943 (+2897)
5 to 9 - 33,721 down to 28,240 (-5481)
10 to 14 - 32,553 down to 27,132 (-5420)
15 to 19 - 43,631 up to 48,099 (+ 4468)

Total loss of 6433 BPS aged students.

For all the complaints about underfunding BPS, we are very lucky that the BPS aged population is falling as we can't apparently afford to educate any more kids. The simple fact is that gentrification and development of housing for DINKs and retirees is a feature, not a bug that allows us to provide the schools we do have by increasing tax rolls without increasing city expenses. I don't think that's an actual plan by the city per se but it sure works out.

Sure, there are more young kids in the city but any of use who have had kids here since preschool know just how many people bail out of city live and head for Newton, Watertown, Westwood etc... when the first kid hits kindergarten. That's not likely to change.

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It's from here, and my numbers might be off because the print was tough to read-

under 5- 71,038
5-9- 57,822
10-14- 48,876
15-17- 29,976
18-19- 24,278
20-59- 454,302
60+ 114,950

And I will note that not all the lost kids would have been BPS kids. There were a lot more parochial schools in 1950 than there are now. Heck, Hyde Park has gone from 3 to 1 in a very short time, and JP has no parish schools left (though Nativity Prep is on Lamartine, but that's a bit different.)

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I cannot edit html well, so the "here" at the beginning should be here.

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Here are two charts that might help you with your analysis.

One shows (estimated) changes in population between 2011 to 2015, updating your 2000 to 2010 comparison.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ULuoW34tow7oQIR18Lq-_HsnZ0IDs-gD...

There seems to have been a slight uptick in Under 5 and 5 - 14-year olds in the city but high-school aged population continues to drop.

The other shows the number of students enrolled, by school, in 1994 compared to current day. Some schools have closed, some have opened; not sure if there's any value in comparing but I didn't realize that until after I was done pulling the numbers.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1bZpCGGhb1laLyhe5qI-_M1E52lk2y4eL...

A conversation about what to do about dropping / leveling-off of the number of school-aged children in the city would get heated, fast.

I'm not sure what your saying but I think it's that lowering enrollments should lead to changes in the number of schools / location of schools. I think it should lead to changes but any time the city's leadership has tried even incremental steps, there's been huge blow-back.

In my opinion, that's because the mayor and superintendent aren't focusing enough attention on it and they're also not taking leadership roles. (I wouldn't expect either of his two challengers to do any better, tbh, and I think they'd do worse, even!)

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One of the challenges that often gets over looked is the fact that our school buildings in Boston were built for a different era. You mostly have depression era structures that lack things like kitchens, parking lots, potable water, fire suppression, accessible everything, HVAC, playgrounds, gyms, modern wiring and frankly adequate space for the educational modes in practice today. There is a fascinating, likely biased report out called buildbps that catalogues all of the buildings and their shortcomings.

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And in 1950, the US population was 150M, half of what it is today, so that 800,000 was "twice" the size it would be today, comparatively speaking.

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now do housing units

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FYI, if anyone wants a link to the source data @census.gov

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Thank you! I had a heck of a time trying to find the data on the Census website, yesterday, and then today I couldn't find it, at all!

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Lots of growth in Texas, and it's heartening to note that Austin (the most progressive of Texas cities) leads the way.

Also, our hometown seems to be doing better than most of our cohort of old Eastern cities (New York and Philadelphia, at least). Though D.C. is kicking our butt, and I suspect Providence is too.

Poor Chicago :-(

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Why poor Chicago? It's an amazing city that I was proud to call home for 7 years before I moved back to the East coast.

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Chicago(and Detroit, for that matter) has vast swaths that are desolate and dangerous. Boston doesn't have that, thank goodness.

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Vote Democrat again.

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Actually, a fascist jerk who has been robbing the poor and giving to the rich while building a police state.

I have family there who are moving out because they are sick of the lack of rational priorities.

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I blame him for the hyperpartisanship during the Obama administration. Sure, it takes 2 to tango, but my hope was that Obama could reach out like Bush did at the beginning of his term to achieve something across the aisle, but when I read that Emmanuel was the pick as CoS, my heart sank. Emmanuel is about scoring points, not making things better. Same in Congress as in the White House as in City Hall.

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.

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Shitcago did it to itself. Politicians in bed with criminals and perpetually campaigning on coffins while doing next to nothing to combat multi-generation street gangs doesn't make people want to move there. That's in addition to blatant corruption and a high taxation scheme. Detroit 2.0 is where that burg is headed.

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We are growing, but since 2010 our population has been surpassed by Washington, DC, Denver, CO, and Seattle, WA. And we've got over 125,000 people to go if we're going to reach the population of Boston in 1950.

Onward!

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We are going to el pass you, El Paso. And we are coming for your....ummm...what does El Paso have? Oh, jarred salsa!

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El Paso has suicide bomb turtles.

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Radioactive aliens, too.

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El Paso has a whole lot of feed lots. Try not to be downwind, podnuh. Also, a 10-gallon sales tax.

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I always like to look at the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) as well - I find that gives a better sense of real population in an area. When someone thinks about the Boston Area, I think some would be surprised that our MSA ranks 10th in the nation for population at about 4.8 Million

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Metropolitan_Statistical_Areas

and 7th for population density

http://www.usa.com/rank/us--population-density--metro-area-rank.htm

pretty interesting stuff

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NYC is 60% the size of Los Angeles, square-mileage wise, but has more double the amount of people.

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