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Census data: Hispanics/Latinos surpass whites in East Boston

Posted by Matt Rocheleau  April 6, 2011 11:00 AM

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East Boston now has more Hispanic/Latino residents than white residents, according to census data recently released by the city.

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Select a neighborhood below from the dropdown to see a breakdown of Census statistics.

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Between 2000-2010, East Boston’s overall population increased 5.5 percent to 40,508, according to figures the Boston Redevelopment Authority compiled from US Census data.

The neighborhood’s Hispanic/Latino segment, already the city’s largest count and highest proportion, boomed by adding 6,429 residents – nearly a 43-percent rise. The white population meanwhile plunged by 21 percent, or 4,027 residents.

At a size of 21,419, the Hispanic/Latino population comprised 52.8 percent of East Boston overall last year, up from a 39-percent representation in 2000. The white population dropped from 49.7 percent to 37.2 percent of the neighborhood’s make up.

In the past decade, the Black/African American population grew by around 9 percent there; the Asian population declined by 8.6 percent. Each segment represents around 3 percent of the neighborhood.

Boston’s population grew by 4.8 percent in the past decade to hit 617,594. The Hub remained a “majority-minority” city as 53 percent of residents are of a non-white race/ethnicity.

In Boston, 47 percent of residents are white, 22.3 percent are Black/African American, 17.5 percent are Hispanic/Latino, and 8.8 percent are Asian.

While Boston gained over 41,000 people age 18 years and older, the city lost around 13,000 youth residents under 18. The 11-percent drop was among the most notable statistics for research director at Boston think-tank MassINC Benjamin Forman.

“There’s no question that family households have been replaced by people without kids,” he said, adding that a trend of fleeing families can often be a sign of gentrification.

The portion of total residents 18 years or older grew in all but five neighborhoods; in East Boston it grew from 76.4 to 77.7 percent. Citywide, that portion grew from 80 to 83 percent.

The total number of housing units in East Boston increased over the past 10 years by 5.2 percent to 15,854. However, the housing vacancy rate also rose from 5 to 7.6 percent.

Citywide, housing grew by around 25,000 units, or 8 percent, however, vacancies also rose by 60 percent. Around 5 percent of Boston homes were empty in 2000; in 2010, around 7.25 percent of housing was vacant.

Boston’s neighborhoods have no officially-defined boundaries, according to the BRA. In order to sort census data by neighborhood, the city department said it used a combination of ZIP codes and zoning boundaries to define each neighborhood’s borders.

While the neighborhoods the city has mapped out for census number crunching by-and-large match how most perceive Boston’s configuration, the city acknowledged some may dispute how the BRA has defined where neighborhoods begin and end.

"Everyone has their own definition of ‘their’ neighborhood -- the best part about Boston is there is such pride in the question -- and therefore there are no official boundaries because if there were, we'd have 617,594 different opinions,” said spokeswoman Susan Elsbree.

The department plans to release additional maps and is also fielding individual requests to have data provided based on customized neighborhood boundaries.

To simplify city data analyzed for this report, grouped, as follows, smaller neighborhoods and districts into other, larger areas creating a total of 18 city subsections: Beacon Hill includes the West End; Downtown includes Chinatown and the Leather District; Roxbury includes Mission Hill and the Longwood Medical Area; South Boston includes the South Boston Waterfront; and the South End includes Bay Village. The Harbor Islands – with a combined population of 640 and 535 residents during the 2000 and 2010 census, respectively – were not used in this analysis.

However, raw data is still available here for each smaller neighborhood, district and islands that the BRA defined.

E-mail Matt Rocheleau at

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