Boston, United States Population

Population in Urban Area, now

4,309,828
  • World: 99th
  • North America: 15th
  • United States: 11th

Population in City Area, mid 2020

708,697
  • World: 433rd
  • North America: 38th
  • United States: 20th

Boston Population Graphs

  • Urban Area
  • City Area

Boston Population Review

Boston is the capital of the state of Massachusetts in the United States. As of 2020, it had 4.3 million people in the Great Boston Area and 708,000 people in the city area. It is the most populous city in Massachusetts and the 21st most populous city in the United States. The city itself spans across 49 square kilometers with a population density of 5,344 people per square kilometer.

Boston is one of the United States’ oldest municipalities. Puritan settlers from England who hailed from a town of the same name founded it in 1630. It’s age and location has meant that it plays an important role in several events of historical importance for the United States, including the American Revolution, the Boston massacre, the Boston Tea Party, the Battle of Bunker Hill, and the Siege of Boston.

One of the highest costs of living

Boston is a notoriously expensive place for people to call home. In fact, it’s one of the priciest cities in the USA to rent or own a home. The average cost of a single square foot of living space in Boston is around $742; this is even more expensive than New York City.

Much of this is attributed to the city’s renowned post-secondary institutions, including Harvard, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northeastern University, and Boston University—as well as 60 others. There are also 15 healthcare facilities in the city. All of this, combined with the fact that Boston is the nation’s second-smallest city with less than 50 square kilometers in total—and half of that being reserved for public and institutional spaces—helps explain the exorbitant rate of Boston’s real estate.

A walking city

Boston commuters are a bit different than the average American commuter. A recent study that looked at 30 major cities in the United States found that Boston commuters are, on average, younger, walk more, and when they do drive, they drive alone. Around 14% of Boston commuters walk to work, which is the highest percentage in the USA. The city also ranks third highest for the amount of people who take public transit to work, with 33% of commuters choosing to take public transit.

A changing demographic

In 1950, Boston was overwhelmingly white, with 94.7% of the population identifying as such. Between then and the 20th century, the amount of whites in the city declined. By 2000, non-Hispanic whites made up less than 50% of the city’s population.

The city’s significant gentrification has seen many whites move to traditionally non-white areas of the city. The non-white population has rebounded with Latin American and Asian populations increasing.

The Boston Marathon

The annual marathon hosted in Boston is world-famous. It attracts over 500,000 spectators and about 30,000 participants—making it one of the largest marathons in the world. It is one of the oldest marathons in the country, and the fastest, with a median time of 3:44 and a founding date of 1897.

On April 13, 2013, two bombs were detonated within 12 seconds of each other near the marathon’s finish line. This killed three people and injured at least 264. The bombs were contained in pressure cookers, which were hidden in backpacks, which were left amongst spectators by the Tsarnaev brothers.

Great Molasses Flood

The Great Molasses Flood or the Boston Molasses Disaster occurred on January 15, 1919, when a large storage tank filled with 2.3 million gallons of molasses that weighed around 13,000 tons burst and flooded the streets of Boston. The molasses roared through the streets at 35MPH, killing 21 people and injuring 150.

Popular folklore in the city says that, on hot days, you can still smell the scent of molasses rising from the streets and buildings in the areas affected by the flood.

Review Updated: November 2, 2020

Boston Urban Area Population History

1950 2,551,000
1951 2,576,000
1952 2,602,000
1953 2,628,000
1954 2,654,000
1955 2,680,000
1956 2,707,000
1957 2,734,000
1958 2,761,000
1959 2,788,000
1960 2,818,000
1961 2,854,000
1962 2,890,000
1963 2,926,000
1964 2,963,000
1965 3,000,000
1966 3,038,000
1967 3,076,000
1968 3,115,000
1969 3,155,000
1970 3,187,000
1971 3,196,000
1972 3,205,000
1973 3,214,000
1974 3,224,000
1975 3,233,000
1976 3,242,000
1977 3,252,000
1978 3,261,000
1979 3,271,000
1980 3,281,000
1981 3,294,000
1982 3,308,000
1983 3,321,000
1984 3,335,000
1985 3,349,000
1986 3,362,000
1987 3,376,000
1988 3,390,000
1989 3,404,000
1990 3,428,000
1991 3,486,000
1992 3,544,000
1993 3,604,000
1994 3,664,000
1995 3,726,000
1996 3,788,000
1997 3,852,000
1998 3,917,000
1999 3,982,000
2000 4,036,000
2001 4,051,000
2002 4,065,000
2003 4,080,000
2004 4,095,000
2005 4,110,000
2006 4,125,000
2007 4,140,000
2008 4,155,000
2009 4,170,000
2010 4,185,000
2011 4,200,000
2012 4,215,000
2013 4,230,000
2014 4,246,000
2015 4,261,000
2016 4,277,000
2017 4,292,000
2018 4,308,000
2019 4,307,000
2020 4,309,000

Boston Urban Area Population Projections

2021 4,315,000
2022 4,327,000
2023 4,344,000
2024 4,367,000
2025 4,396,000
2026 4,428,000
2027 4,464,000
2028 4,502,000
2029 4,541,000
2030 4,581,000
2031 4,621,000
2032 4,661,000
2033 4,701,000
2034 4,740,000
2035 4,778,000

City Area Population Estimate & Projections

2010 621,074
2011 630,480
2012 643,003
2013 653,103
2014 663,017
2015 670,791
2016 680,470
2017 688,276
2018 694,583
2019 701,640
2020 708,697

Map of Boston, United States

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