Boston Population is Growing
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For Immediate Release
October 27, 2006
Released By:
Mayor's Office
For More Information Contact:
Press Office

Boston Population is Growing

Census Bureau acknowledges previous estimate undercounted residents by more than 37,000 people

In response to a recent challenge by Mayor Thomas M. Menino, the U.S. Census Bureau has officially increased its population numbers for the City of Boston from 559,034 to 596,638, acknowledging the inadequacies of the methodology by which it arrived at its initial estimate. The revised count indicates that Boston's population grew by 1.3 percent since the 2000 Census – instead of a 5.1 percent decrease erroneously indicated by the previous estimate.

"The implications of the Census numbers are enormous," Mayor Menino said. "I fought to find the truth in the data because population counts directly affect our levels of federal funding and private investment, as well as people's perceptions of Boston's tremendous vitality and strength."

In his challenge to the Census Bureau's estimate for the date of July 1, 2005 (issued in June 2006), Mayor Menino provided detailed data to demonstrate that the Census Bureau's estimate did not accurately reflect numbers for new housing production and new college dormitories, as well as the "rake factor," an adjustment to the Suffolk County Population estimate. Also, Mayor Menino employed city records to demonstrate that the Census Bureau had overestimated housing demolitions by close to 2,000 units.

"Providing accurate information and analysis is critical to our economic climate," Mayor Menino said. "Today's action by the Census Bureau confirms what many residents and private sector leaders felt intuitively – that Boston is in fact gaining share as a center of global competitiveness."

Recognizing Boston's need to increase housing production and the production of affordable housing in order to stimulate and accommodate economic growth, Mayor Menino launched Leading The Way, a comprehensive housing strategy, in July of 2000. Leading The Way articulated a bold goal of permitting 7,500 new housing units in three years – a goal it exceeded. With Leading The Way II, launched in July of 2003, Mayor Menino increased the goal to permitting 10,000 new units. That program is still in process and is on track to again meet or exceed its stated objective.

"We implemented a strategic, multi-faceted approach to addressing Boston's housing challenges," Mayor Menino said. "And the Census revision reflects the great successes we've achieved, creating housing in every neighborhood and for every income level."

History offered a strong precedent for Mayor Menino's challenge. During the 1990s, the Census Bureau estimated a population loss for Boston for nearly every individual year, only to determine in the official enumeration of the 2000 Census that the city's population had in fact increased during the decade. Mayor Menino was supported in his challenge by the Research Division of the Boston Redevelopment Authority, which compiles, monitors, and analyzes a wide range of data relevant to the local and regional economies.



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