The Boston Foundation reports a Manhattanizing Boston increasingly split between the well off and the very poor is rapidly losing its under-18 population:
Even though our city’s total population has increased from a low point in 1980, we’ve actually lost school-aged population at the same time. And, if it weren’t for immigration, Boston’s school-aged population would have decreased even further. ...
Boston’s got a lot going for it, but we’re gradually becoming a city of high-income, childless professionals. We’ve also seen growth in the number of lower-income families, in part driven by those who are fortunate enough to get off of waitlists and secure subsidized housing. But we’re losing other families who can’t afford the city’s rising housing costs, and our middle class is hollowing out.
The report's main focus is what this means for a BPS system in which students are, save for the exam school, increasingly poor, black and Latino:
Boston is a far more diverse city these days than it was even a few decades ago. But this diversity masks a growing mismatch, as Boston’s children are significantly more likely to be children of color and to come from low-income families than city residents overall. Boston children are also more likely to attend schools that have become far less integrated in recent decades, both racially and socioeconomically. This is troubling in light of the wide range of important benefits associated with educating children in integrated schools. A large and growing body of evidence consistently finds that students who attend diverse schools have better academic,social, behavioral and economic outcomes - all advantages that collectively position them to succeed in an increasingly diverse workplace and break the cycle of intergenerational poverty
The report adds:
Suburbs to the west of Boston, many of which are higher income, have seen some of the region’s largest gains. Towns like Winchester, Belmont and Sudbury each saw school-aged population increases of more than 30 percent. Some of these families come from Boston itself, moving out to the suburbs once their kids become school-aged, while many others move to Boston’s suburbs from elsewhere in the U.S. Still others come from abroad, and instead of settling in Boston, move to other places in the region seeking things like lower housing costs and local community ties to their countries of origin. Whether or not such assessments are fair, the perception that K–12 schools are “better” in the region’s higher-income suburbs is probably another driving factor behind some of these geographic moves.