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Mark Melnik Senior Research Associate Boston Redevelopment Authority Research Division


Research Context


Since the 1970s, the share of the foreign-born population has increased.

Share of Foreign-Born in Boston, MA, & U.S. (1850 – 2006)

Source: www.census.gov/population/www/documentation/, BRA Research Division Analysis


Among the largest cities in the U.S., Boston stands out as a point of entry for immigrants. 25 Largest Cities in the United States-2006 Rank

City

City Population

25 Largest Cities in the United States-Proportion of Foreign-Born-2006 Rank

City

Pro FB Pop.

1

New York, NY

8,214,426

1

Los Angeles, CA

39.9%

2

Los Angeles, CA

3,849,378

2

San Jose, CA

38.6%

3

Chicago, IL

2,833,321

3

New York, NY

37.0%

4

Houston, TX

2,144,491

4

San Francisco, CA

36.3%

5

Phoenix, AZ

1,512,986

5

Houston, TX

27.8%

6

Philadelphia, PA

1,448,394

6

Boston, MA

27.2%

7

San Antonio, TX

1,296,682

7

Dallas, TX

26.9%

8

San Diego, CA

1,256,951

8

El Paso, TX

26.9%

9

Dallas, TX

San Diego, CA

26.6%

1,232,940

9

10

San Jose, CA

929,936

10

Phoenix, AZ

23.4%

11

Detroit, MI

871,121

11

Chicago, IL

21.8%

12

Jacksonville, FL

794,555

12

Austin, TX

20.3%

13

Indianapolis, IN

785,597

13

Seattle, WA

18.8%

14

San Francisco, CA

744,041

14

Fort Worth, TX

17.4%

15

Columbus, OH

733,203

15

Charlotte, NC

13.7%

16

Austin, TX

709,893

16

San Antonio, TX

12.9%

17

Memphis, TN

670,902

17

Washington, DC

12.7%

18

Fort Worth, TX

653,320

18

Philadelphia, PA

10.9%

19

Baltimore, MD

631,366

19

Columbus, OH

9.4%

20

Charlotte, NC

630,478

20

Milwaukee, WI

9.3%

21

El Paso, TX

609,415

21

Jacksonville, FL

8.2%

22

Boston, MA

595,698

22

Indianapolis, IN

6.5%

23

Seattle, WA

582,454

23

Baltimore, MD

6.1%

24

Washington, DC

581,530

24

Memphis, TN

5.4%

25

Milwaukee, WI

573,358

25

Detroit, MI

4.5%

Source: 2006 American Community Survey, BRA Research Division Analysis


The racial & ethnic composition of Boston has changed over the last three decades. Race and Ethnicity in Boston (1980 to 2006) 1980

1990

2006*

*2000 was the first year the Census compiled data on individuals who identified themselves as “multiracial”. Source: Liming L., Perkins, G., Goetze, R., Vrabel, J., Lewis G., & Consalvo, R., (2001) Boston’s Population – 2000, Changes in Population, Race, Ethnicity in Boston and Boston’s Neighborhoods – 1980 to 2000. Boston: Boston Redevelopment Authority, 2006 American Community Survey, Boston Redevelopment Authority Research Division Analysis.


There have been dramatic changes in the regions of origin for the foreign-born population in Massachusetts over the years.

Regions of Origin – Massachusetts (1850 to 2006) 1850 – 1900

1910 – 1960

Source: http://www.census.gov/population/www/documentation/twps0029/twps0029.html#data, 2000 American Community Survey, BRA Research Division Analysis

1970 – 2006


Historically, the regions of origin for the foreign-born population in Boston is somewhat different than Massachusetts.

Regions of Origin – Boston (1860 to 2006) 1860 – 1900

1910 – 1960

Source: http://www.census.gov/population/www/documentation/twps0029/twps0029.html#data, 2000 American Community Survey, BRA Research Division Analysis

1970 – 2006


In recent years, people from Latin America and Asia have made up a larger proportion of the foreign-born in the state than in the past. Regions of Origin – Massachusetts (1970 to 2006) 1970 – 1980

1990 – 2006

Source: http://www.census.gov/population/www/documentation/twps0029/twps0029.html#data, 2000 American Community Survey, BRA Research Division Analysis


The trend stands out even more in Boston, where 2/3 of immigrants since 1990 are from Latin America or Asia. Regions of Origin – Boston (1970 to 2006) 1970 – 1980

1990 – 2006

Source: http://www.census.gov/population/www/documentation/twps0029/twps0029.html#data, 2006 American Community Survey, BRA Research Division Analysis


The top ten countries of origin for Boston’s foreign-born population. Share of the Foreign-Born population in Boston (2006)

Source: 2006 American Community Survey, BRA Research Division Analysis


The foreign-born’s demographic characteristics are different than that of the native-born. •  Slightly over 50% of the foreign-born is male, compared to 47% of the native-born •  A higher proportion of the native-born (25%) is under the age of 18 as compared to the foreign-born (5%) •  A higher proportion of the foreign-born (42%) is married as compared to the nativeborn (25%)*

Age Composition

*Universe: 15 years and older Source: 2006 American Community Survey, BRA Research Division Analysis


While there are a small number of foreign-born children in Boston, there are a large number of children in households headed by a foreign-born resident.

CHILDREN 0-17 IN BOSTON

Source: 2006 American Community Survey, BRA Research Division Analysis


Slightly more than half of Boston’s Public School students speak “English Only”. Language Composition in Boston Public Schools* (2003/2004)

Note: According to the BPS, school aged population is defined as 5-20 years old Sources: U.S. Census 2000, PUMS (5%) Sample, BRA Research Division Analysis *Edwards, V. (2004). The public school population: Home language study 2004. Boston: Author


Spanish is the most common foreign language spoken in the Boston Public Schools. Share of Foreign Languages in Boston Public Schools

Note: According to the BPS, school aged population is defined as 5-20 years old Sources: U.S. Census 2000, PUMS (5%) Sample, BRA Research Division Analysis Edwards, V. (2004). The public school population: Home language study 2004. Boston: Author


The foreign-born have lower levels of educational attainment than the native-born. Educational Attainment – Boston’s Foreign-Born vs. Native-Born (2006)

*Universe: 25 years and older Source: 2006 American Community Survey, BRA Research Division Analysis


For both groups, as education increases, income increases. Income inequality between the groups increases with education. Average Income by Educational Attainment – Boston’s Foreign-Born vs. Native-Born Labor Force (2006)

*Universe: 25 years and older Sources: 2006 American Community Survey, BRA Research Division Analysis


We see significant income differences between the native-born and foreign-born in Boston, even within the same occupations. Average Income by Occupation- Boston’s Foreign-Born vs. Native-Born Labor Force (2006)

*Universe: Labor force (16 years and older) Sources: 2006 American Community Survey, Boston Redevelopment Authority Research Division Analysis


Changing Face of Boston  

A demographic analysis of Boston's population

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