Boston: The Outlier

The new 2010 census results for the Boston metropolitan area show the historical core municipality, the city of Boston, increasing its population at a greater rate than that of its suburbs. Thus far, Boston is the only historical core municipality with essentially the same boundaries as in 1950 that has experienced a growth rate greater than the suburbs in the 2000 to 2010 period. Boston grew from 589,000 to 617,000, an increase of 4.8 percent. Even so, the city remained more than 20 percent below its historic peak of 801,000 in 1950. Further, even with its faster growth, the city of Boston captured only 18 percent of the metropolitan area growth between 2000 and 2010. The city of Boston contains 14 percent of the metropolitan area population.

By comparison, the suburbs grew 3.5 percent and accounted for 82 percent of the metropolitan area growth.

Overall, the Boston metropolitan area, which stretches from Massachusetts into New Hampshire grew from 4,391,000 to 4,552,000, for a growth rate of 3.7 percent, approximately one-third of the national growth rate between 2000 and 2010. This growth rate is the same as in Los Angeles and Milwaukee, which were the slowest growing major metropolitan areas (population over 1,000,000) reporting so far, with the exception of Cleveland, Detroit and Pittsburgh, which lost population.

Boston retains its position as the nation’s 10th largest metropolitan area, having passed losing Detroit and been passed by Atlanta.

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