News & Updates

Boston Planning & Development Agency Research Division releases preliminary findings from U.S. Census data

Aug 13, 2021

The Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) Research Division and the Office of Digital Cartography and GIS today released the preliminary findings of the 2020 U.S. Census data which found that the total population of Boston grew by 9.4 percent from 2010 to 2020. A summary of the preliminary findings can be found below, and a more detailed analysis is available on the BPDA’s website: (2020 Census Research). 

Total Population

Boston’s population grew 9.4 percent from 2010 to 2020, reaching 675,647, continuing a growth trend since 1980. Boston’s rate of growth exceeded that of the Commonwealth and the nation, which both grew at 7.4 percent over the past decade. South Boston Waterfront is the Boston neighborhood that grew the fastest, growing 195 percent from just 1,889 in 2010 to 5,579 in 2020. According to the Census data, Allston’s population fell by 5.9 percent, with a 40 percent decline in the group quarters population. This suggests that the college dorm population of Allston may have been incorrectly counted in the wake of the pandemic.


Boston continues to become more diverse, adding Hispanic and Asian residents. Boston’s Hispanic population (126,113) grew 16.9 percent since 2010, making up 18.7 percent of Boston’s population in 2020. Boston’s Asian/Pacific Islander population (75,839) grew 38 percent since 2010, making up 11.2 percent of Boston’s population in 2020. The non-Hispanic White population (301,464) grew a modest 3.8 percent since 2010 with the population share falling to 44.6 percent. The non-Hispanic Black/African-American population (129,264) fell by 6.4 percent since 2010, with a population share of 19.1 percent.

Child Population

Boston had 101,811 children under age 18 in 2020, a fall of 1.8 percent from 2010.  Children under 18 made up 15 percent of Boston’s population in 2020, down from 17 percent in 2010. 


Boston had 301,702 total housing units in 2020, an increase of 10.7 percent from 2010. The number of housing units grew fastest in South Boston Waterfront, (281 percent since 2010), with 3,408 new units. Boston’s average household size fell slightly to 2.25. Boston's group quarters population living in dorms, nursing homes, correctional facilities, and other institutions, increased slightly to 46,574 people. This number is about the same as 2010, making up 6.9 percent of Boston's total population.

MyCensus View Launch

In addition, the Research Division, and the BPDA’s Office of Digital Cartography and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) today launched MyCensus Viewer, an interactive map tool that visualizes U.S. Census data for the City of Boston. The mapping tool currently displays the U.S. Census’s American Community Survey (ACS) data from 2015-2019, and will be updated with 2020 Decennial Census data when the full data set is released in early October. The ACS asks a larger set of questions than the decennial census, including questions about education, income, and employment. Residents can click on census tracts of interest in their neighborhood to see basic demographic information.
The Research Division developed this new online tool to help the public better visually understand the data collected by the U.S. government and its impact on Boston’s communities. MyCensus Viewer will allow users detailed insight into census tracts, making Boston’s data more accessible than ever before.
The U.S. Census conducts the decennial census every ten years to count all residents in the United States, and ask a short set of additional questions, such as age, sex, race, and owner/renter status. The first limited data release for the 2020 Census (the Redistricting Data Summary File) was released on Thursday. The initial findings of these redistricting data are posted on the BPDA’s site: 2020 Census Research. The full 2020 Census data is not scheduled to be released until 2022. The Research Division of the BPDA provides economic and demographic information for Boston and its neighborhoods. For further information, please visit our website

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