officially the City of Boston
, is the capital
and most populous
of the Commonwealth
in the United States
and 21st most populous city in the country
The city proper covers 48.4 square miles (125 km2
with an estimated population of 692,600 in 2019,
also making it the most populous city in New England
It is the seat of Suffolk County
(although the county government was disbanded on July 1, 1999).
The city is the economic and cultural anchor of a substantially larger metropolitan area known as Greater Boston
, a metropolitan statistical area
(MSA) home to a census-estimated 4.8 million people in 2016 and ranking as the tenth-largest MSA in the country.
A broader combined statistical area
(CSA), generally corresponding to the commuting area
and including Providence, Rhode Island
, is home to some 8.2 million people, making it the sixth most populous in the United States.
Boston is one of the oldest municipalities in the United States, founded on the Shawmut Peninsula
in 1630 by Puritan
settlers from the English town of the same name
It was the scene of several key events of the American Revolution
, such as the Boston Massacre
, the Boston Tea Party
, the Battle of Bunker Hill
and the siege of Boston
. Upon American independence from Great Britain
, the city continued to be an important port and manufacturing hub as well as a center for education and culture.
The city has expanded beyond the original peninsula
through land reclamation and municipal annexation. Its rich history attracts many tourists, with Faneuil Hall
alone drawing more than 20 million visitors per year.
Boston's many firsts include the United States' first public park (Boston Common
, 1634), first public or state school
(Boston Latin School
and first subway system (Tremont Street subway
Today, Boston is a thriving center of scientific research. The Boston area's many colleges and universities
make it a world leader in higher education
including law, medicine, engineering and business, and the city is considered to be a global pioneer in innovation
, with nearly 5,000 startups.
Boston's economic base also includes finance
professional and business services, biotechnology
, information technology
and government activities.
Households in the city claim the highest average rate of philanthropy
in the United States;
businesses and institutions rank among the top in the country for environmental sustainability
The city has one of the highest costs of living
in the United States
as it has undergone gentrification
though it remains high on world livability rankings.
Boston's early European settlers had first called the area Trimountaine
(after its "three mountains", only traces of which remain today) but later renamed it Boston
, Lincolnshire, England, the origin of several prominent colonists. The renaming on September 7, 1630 (Old Style
was by Puritan
colonists from England
who had moved over from Charlestown
earlier that year in quest for fresh water. Their settlement was initially limited to the Shawmut Peninsula
, at that time surrounded by the Massachusetts Bay
and Charles River
and connected to the mainland by a narrow isthmus
. The peninsula
is thought to have been inhabited as early as 4000 BC.
Boston was the largest town in the Thirteen Colonies
outgrew it in the mid-18th century.
Boston's oceanfront location
made it a lively port
, and the city primarily engaged in shipping
and fishing during its colonial days. However, Boston stagnated in the decades prior to the Revolution. By the mid-18th century, New York City and Philadelphia surpassed Boston in wealth. During this period, Boston encountered financial difficulties even as other cities in New England grew rapidly.
Revolution and the siege of Boston
A south east view of the great town of Boston in New England in America (c. 1730)
The weather continuing boisterous the next day and night, giving the enemy time to improve their works, to bring up their cannon, and to put themselves in such a state of defence, that I could promise myself little success in attacking them under all the disadvantages I had to encounter.
Map showing a British tactical evaluation of Boston in 1775.
Many of the crucial events of the American Revolution
occurred in or near Boston. Boston's penchant for mob action along with the colonists' growing lack of faith in either Britain
or its Parliament
fostered a revolutionary spirit in the city.
When the British parliament passed the Stamp Act
in 1765, a Boston mob ravaged the homes of Andrew Oliver
, the official tasked with enforcing the Act, and Thomas Hutchinson
, then the Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts.
The British sent two regiments to Boston in 1768 in an attempt to quell the angry colonists. This did not sit well with the colonists. In 1770, during the Boston Massacre
, British troops shot into a crowd that had started to violently harass them. The colonists compelled the British to withdraw their troops. The event was widely publicized and fueled a revolutionary movement in America.
The Dorchester Heights Monument was erected on the spot where Putnam's fortifications were placed. American forces held the city for the remainder of the war.
Boston itself was besieged for almost a year during the siege of Boston
, which began on April 19, 1775. The New England militia impeded the movement of the British Army
. Sir William Howe
, then the commander-in-chief of the British forces in North America, led the British army in the siege. On June 17, the British captured the Charlestown peninsula
in Boston, during the Battle of Bunker Hill
. The British army outnumbered the militia stationed there, but it was a pyrrhic victory
for the British because their army suffered irreplaceable casualties. It was also a testament to the skill and training of the militia, as their stubborn defence made it difficult for the British to capture Charlestown without suffering further irreplaceable casualties.
Several weeks later, George Washington
took over the militia after the Continental Congress
established the Continental Army
to unify the revolutionary effort. Both sides faced difficulties and supply shortages in the siege, and the fighting was limited to small-scale raids and skirmishes. The narrow Boston Neck, which at that time was only about a hundred feet wide, impeded Washington's ability to invade Boston, and a long stalemate ensued. A young officer, Rufus Putnam
, came up with a plan to make portable fortifications out of wood that could be erected on the frozen ground under cover of darkness. Putnam supervised this effort, which successfully installed both the fortifications and dozens of cannon on Dorchester Heights that Henry Knox
had laboriously brought through the snow from Fort Ticonderoga. The astonished British awoke the next morning to see a large array of cannons bearing down on them. General Howe is believed to have said that the Americans had done more in one night than his army could have done in six months. The British Army attempted a cannon barrage for two hours, but their shot could not reach the colonists' cannons at such a height. The British gave up, boarded their ships and sailed away. Boston still celebrates "Evacuation Day" each year. Washington was so impressed, he made Rufus Putnam
his chief engineer.
Post-revolution and the War of 1812
Boston, as the Eagle and the Wild Goose See It
, 1860, by J.W. Black
, the first recorded aerial photograph
State Street, 1801
After the Revolution, Boston's long seafaring
tradition helped make it one of the world's wealthiest international ports, with the slave trade
rum, fish, salt, and tobacco being particularly important.
Boston's harbor activity was significantly curtailed by the Embargo Act of 1807
(adopted during the Napoleonic Wars
) and the War of 1812
. Foreign trade returned after these hostilities, but Boston's merchants had found alternatives for their capital investments in the interim. Manufacturing became an important component of the city's economy, and the city's industrial manufacturing overtook international trade in economic importance by the mid-19th century. A network of small rivers bordering the city and connecting it to the surrounding region facilitated shipment of goods and led to a proliferation of mills and factories. Later, a dense network of railroads furthered the region's industry and commerce.
the citizens of Boston voted to change the official name from the "Town of Boston" to the "City of Boston", and on March 19, 1822, the people of Boston accepted the charter incorporating the city.
At the time Boston was chartered as a city, the population was about 46,226, while the area of the city was only 4.8 square miles (12 km2
In the 1820s, Boston's population grew rapidly, and the city's ethnic composition changed dramatically with the first wave of European immigrants
. Irish immigrants dominated the first wave of newcomers during this period, especially following the Great Famine
; by 1850, about 35,000 Irish lived in Boston
In the latter half of the 19th century, the city saw increasing numbers of Irish, Germans
, Syrians, French Canadians
, and Russian
and Polish Jews
settling in the city. By the end of the 19th century, Boston's core neighborhoods had become enclaves of ethnically distinct immigrants with their residence yielding lasting cultural change. Italians
became the largest inhabitants of the North End
dominated South Boston
, and Russian Jews
lived in the West End
immigrants brought with them Roman Catholicism. Currently, Catholics make up Boston's largest religious community,
and the Irish have played a major role in Boston politics since the early 20th century; prominent figures include the Kennedys
, Tip O'Neill
, and John F. Fitzgerald
Between 1631 and 1890, the city tripled its area through land reclamation
by filling in marshes, mud flats, and gaps between wharves along the waterfront.
The largest reclamation efforts took place during the 19th century; beginning in 1807, the crown of Beacon Hill was used to fill in a 50-acre (20 ha) mill pond that later became the Haymarket Square
area. The present-day State House
sits atop this lowered Beacon Hill. Reclamation projects in the middle of the century created significant parts of the South End
, the West End
, the Financial District
, and Chinatown
The Old City Hall
was home to the Boston city council from 1865 to 1969.
After the Great Boston fire of 1872
, workers used building rubble as landfill along the downtown waterfront. During the mid-to-late 19th century, workers filled almost 600 acres (2.4 km2
) of brackish Charles River marshlands west of Boston Common
with gravel brought by rail from the hills of Needham Heights. The city annexed the adjacent towns of South Boston
(1804), East Boston
(including present-day Mattapan
and a portion of South Boston
) (1870), Brighton
(including present-day Allston
) (1874), West Roxbury
(including present-day Jamaica Plain
) (1874), Charlestown
(1874), and Hyde Park
Other proposals were unsuccessful for the annexation of Brookline
Early 20th century
Boston went into decline by the early to mid-20th century, as factories became old and obsolete and businesses moved out of the region for cheaper labor elsewhere.
Boston responded by initiating various urban renewal
projects, under the direction of the Boston Redevelopment Authority
(BRA) established in 1957. In 1958, BRA initiated a project to improve the historic West End neighborhood. Extensive demolition was met with strong public opposition, and thousands of families were displaced.
The BRA continued implementing eminent domain
projects, including the clearance of the vibrant Scollay Square
area for construction of the modernist style Government Center
. In 1965, the Columbia Point Health Center opened in the Dorchester
neighborhood, the first Community Health Center
in the United States. It mostly served the massive Columbia Point
public housing complex adjoining it, which was built in 1953. The health center is still in operation and was rededicated in 1990 as the Geiger-Gibson Community Health Center.
The Columbia Point complex itself was redeveloped and revitalized from 1984 to 1990 into a mixed-income residential development called Harbor Point Apartments.
By the 1970s, the city's economy had begun to recover after 30 years of economic downturn. A large number of high-rises were constructed in the Financial District
and in Boston's Back Bay
during this period.
This boom continued into the mid-1980s and resumed after a few pauses. Hospitals such as Massachusetts General Hospital
, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
, and Brigham and Women's Hospital
lead the nation in medical innovation and patient care. Schools such as the Boston Architectural College
, Boston College
, Boston University
, the Harvard Medical School
, Tufts University School of Medicine
, Northeastern University
, Massachusetts College of Art and Design
, Wentworth Institute of Technology
, Berklee College of Music
, the Boston Conservatory
, and many others attract students to the area. Nevertheless, the city experienced conflict starting in 1974 over desegregation busing
, which resulted in unrest and violence around public schools throughout the mid-1970s.
Boston has experienced gentrification
in the latter half of the 20th century,
with housing prices increasing sharply since the 1990s.
Living expenses have risen; Boston has one of the highest costs of living in the United States
and was ranked the 129th-most expensive major city in the world in a 2011 survey of 214 cities.
Despite cost-of-living issues, Boston ranks high on livability ratings, ranking 36th worldwide in quality of living
in 2011 in a survey of 221 major cities.
Boston as seen from ESA Sentinel-2
The geographical center of Boston is in Roxbury. Due north of the center we find the South End. This is not to be confused with South Boston which lies directly east from the South End. North of South Boston is East Boston and southwest of East Boston is the North End.
— Author, Unknown – A common local colloquialism
Boston is surrounded by the "Greater Boston
" region and is contiguously bordered by the cities and towns
, and Quincy
. The Charles River
separates Boston's Allston-Brighton, Fenway-Kenmore and Back Bay neighborhoods from Watertown
and the majority of Cambridge, and the mass of Boston from its own Charlestown neighborhood. To the east lie Boston Harbor
and the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area
(which includes part of the city's territory, specifically Calf Island
, Gallops Island
, Great Brewster Island
, Green Island
, Little Brewster Island
, Little Calf Island
, Long Island
, Lovells Island
, Middle Brewster Island
, Nixes Mate
, Outer Brewster Island
, Rainsford Island
, Shag Rocks
, Spectacle Island
, The Graves
, and Thompson Island
). The Neponset River
forms the boundary between Boston's southern neighborhoods and the city of Quincy
and the town of Milton
. The Mystic River
separates Charlestown from Chelsea and Everett, and Chelsea Creek and Boston Harbor separate East Boston from Downtown, the North End, and the Seaport.
Boston is sometimes called a "city of neighborhoods" because of the profusion of diverse subsections; the city government's Office of Neighborhood Services has officially designated 23 neighborhoods.
More than two-thirds of inner Boston's modern land area did not exist when the city was founded. Instead, it was created via the gradual filling in of the surrounding tidal areas over the centuries,
with earth from leveling or lowering Boston's three original hills (the "Trimountain", after which Tremont Street is named) and with gravel brought by train from Needham to fill the Back Bay
Boston's skyline in the background, with fall foliage
in the foreground
Under the Köppen climate classification
, depending on the isotherm used, Boston has either a humid subtropical climate
) under the −3 °C (26.6 °F) isotherm or a humid continental climate
under the 0 °C isotherm (Köppen Dfa
The city is best described as being in a transitional zone between the two climates. Summers are typically hot and humid, while winters are cold and stormy, with occasional periods of heavy snow. Spring and fall are usually cool to mild, with varying conditions dependent on wind direction and jet stream positioning. Prevailing wind patterns that blow offshore minimize the influence of the Atlantic Ocean. However, in winter areas near the immediate coast will often see more rain than snow as warm air is drawn off the Atlantic at times.
The city lies at the transition between USDA
plant hardiness zones
6b (most of the city) and 7a (Downtown, South Boston, and East Boston neighborhoods).
The hottest month is July, with a mean temperature of 74.1 °F (23.4 °C). The coldest month is January, with a mean temperature of 29.9 °F (−1.2 °C). Periods exceeding 90 °F (32 °C) in summer and below freezing in winter are not uncommon but rarely extended, with about 13 and 25 days per year seeing each, respectively.
The most recent sub-0 °F (−18 °C) reading occurred on January 7, 2018, when the temperature dipped down to −2 °F (−19 °C).
In addition, several decades may pass between 100 °F (38 °C) readings, with the most recent such occurrence on July 22, 2011, when the temperature reached 103 °F (39 °C).
The city's average window for freezing temperatures is November 9 through April 5.[c]
Official temperature records have ranged from −18 °F (−28 °C) on February 9, 1934, up to 104 °F (40 °C) on July 4, 1911. The record cold daily maximum is 2 °F (−17 °C) on December 30, 1917 while, conversely, the record warm daily minimum is 83 °F (28 °C) on August 2, 1975 and July 21, 2019.
A graph of cumulative winter snowfall at Logan International Airport
from 1938 to 2015. The four winters with the greatest amount of snowfall are highlighted. The snowfall data, which was collected by NOAA
, is from the weather station at the airport.
Boston's coastal location on the North Atlantic moderates its temperature but makes the city very prone to Nor'easter
weather systems that can produce much snow and rain.
The city averages 43.6 inches (1,110 mm) of precipitation
a year, with 49.2 inches (125 cm) of snowfall per season.
Most snowfall occurs from mid-November through early April, and snow is rare in May and October.
There is also high year-to-year variability in snowfall; for instance, the winter of 2011–12 saw only 9.3 in (23.6 cm) of accumulating snow, but the previous winter, the corresponding figure was 81.0 in (2.06 m).[d]
Fog is fairly common, particularly in spring and early summer. Due to its location along the North Atlantic, the city often receives sea breezes, especially in the late spring, when water temperatures are still quite cold and temperatures at the coast can be more than 20 °F (11 °C) colder than a few miles inland, sometimes dropping by that amount near midday.
Thunderstorms occur from May to September, that are occasionally severe with large hail
, damaging winds and heavy downpours.
Although downtown Boston has never been struck by a violent tornado
, the city itself has experienced many tornado warnings
. Damaging storms are more common to areas north, west, and northwest of the city.
Boston has a relatively sunny climate for a coastal city at its latitude, averaging over 2,600 hours of sunshine per annum.
Sunset view of the Boston skyline and Charles River
Per capita income
in the Greater Boston area, by US Census block group, 2000. The dashed line shows the boundary of the City of Boston.
Map of racial distribution in Boston, 2010 U.S. Census. Each dot is 25 people: White, Black, Asian, Hispanic, or Other (yellow)
In 2019, Boston was estimated to have 692,600 residents living in 266,724 households
—a 9% population increase over 2010. The city is the third-most densely populated large U.S. city
of over half a million residents, and the most densely populated state capital. Some 1.2 million persons may be within Boston's boundaries during work hours, and as many as 2 million during special events. This fluctuation of people is caused by hundreds of thousands of suburban residents who travel to the city for work, education, health care, and special events.
In the city, the population was spread out, with 21.9% at age 19 and under, 14.3% from 20 to 24, 33.2% from 25 to 44, 20.4% from 45 to 64, and 10.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30.8 years. For every 100 females, there were 92.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.9 males.
There were 252,699 households, of which 20.4% had children under the age of 18 living in them, 25.5% were married couples living together, 16.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 54.0% were non-families. 37.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 3.08.
From an estimate in 2005, Boston has one of the largest per capita LGBT populations in the United States
The median household income
in Boston was $51,739, while the median income for a family was $61,035. Full-time year-round male workers had a median income of $52,544 versus $46,540 for full-time year-round female workers. The per capita income for the city was $33,158. 21.4% of the population and 16.0% of families were below the poverty line. Of the total population, 28.8% of those under the age of 18 and 20.4% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.
Boston has a significant racial wealth gap with white Bostonians having an average net worth of $247,500 compared to an $8 average net worth for non-immigrant Black residents and $0 for Dominican immigrant residents.
In 1950, whites
represented 94.7% of Boston's population.
From the 1950s to the end of the 20th century, the proportion of non-Hispanic whites
in the city declined. In 2000, non-Hispanic whites made up 49.5% of the city's population, making the city majority minority
for the first time. However, in the 21st century
, the city has experienced significant gentrification
, during which affluent whites have moved into formerly non-white areas. In 2006, the US Census Bureau estimated non-Hispanic whites again formed a slight majority but as of 2010, in part due to the housing crash, as well as increased efforts to make more affordable housing more available, the non-white population has rebounded. This may also have to do with increased Latin American
populations and more clarity surrounding US Census statistics, which indicate a non-Hispanic white population of 47 percent (some reports give slightly lower figures).
Historical racial/ethnic composition
Boston gay pride
march, held annually in June
People of Irish
descent form the largest single ethnic group
in the city, making up 15.8% of the population, followed by Italians
, accounting for 8.3% of the population. People of West Indian
ancestry are another sizable group, at over 15%.
In Greater Boston, these numbers grew significantly, with Dominicans 170,000+ according to 2018 estimates, Puerto Ricans numbering 145,000+, Salvadorans 45,000+, Guatemalans 40,000+, and Colombians 35,000+.
East Boston has a diverse Hispanic/Latino population of Colombians, Salvadorans, Dominicans, Guatemalans, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and even Portuguese-speaking people from Portugal and Brazil. Hispanic populations in southwest Boston neighborhoods are mainly made up of Dominicans and Puerto Ricans, usually sharing neighborhoods in this section with African Americans and Blacks with origins from the Caribbean and Africa especially Cape Verdeans and Haitians. Neighborhoods such as Jamaica Plain
have experienced a growing number of Dominican Americans
Large Portuguese-speaking communities of Portuguese
, and Cape Verdeans
are present in areas like East Boston, Roxbury, and Jamaica Plain, usually blending in with Hispanics, blacks, and whites.
According to the 2012–2016 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, the largest ancestry groups in Boston, Massachusetts are:
Demographic breakdown by ZIP Code
Data is from the 2008–2012 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates.
As of 2010, the Catholic Church had the highest number of adherents as a single denomination in the Greater Boston
area, with more than two million members and 339 churches, followed by the Episcopal Church with 58,000 adherents in 160 churches. The United Church of Christ
had 55,000 members and 213 churches.
Distribution of Greater Boston NECTA Labor Force
Nat'l resources & mining (0%)
Trade, transportation & utilities (15%)
Finance & real estate (8%)
Professional & business services (15%)
Educational & health services (28%)
Leisure & hospitality (9%)
Other services (4%)
Boston's colleges and universities exert a significant impact on the regional economy. Boston attracts more than 350,000 college students from around the world, who contribute more than US$4.8 billion annually to the city's economy.
The area's schools are major employers and attract industries to the city and surrounding region. The city is home to a number of technology companies and is a hub for biotechnology
, with the Milken Institute
rating Boston as the top life sciences
cluster in the country.
Boston receives the highest absolute amount of annual funding from the National Institutes of Health
of all cities in the United States.
The city is considered highly innovative for a variety of reasons, including the presence of academia
, access to venture capital
, and the presence of many high-tech
The Route 128 corridor
and Greater Boston continue to be a major center for venture capital investment,
and high technology remains an important sector.
also composes a large part of Boston's economy, with 21.2 million domestic and international visitors spending $8.3 billion in 2011.
Excluding visitors from Canada
, over 1.4 million international tourists visited Boston in 2014, with those from China
and the United Kingdom
leading the list.
Boston's status as a state capital as well as the regional home of federal agencies has rendered law and government to be another major component of the city's economy.
The city is a major seaport
along the East Coast of the United States and the oldest continuously operated industrial and fishing port in the Western Hemisphere
The John Hancock Tower
, center left, is one of many tall office buildings in downtown Boston.
In the 2018 Global Financial Centres Index
, Boston was ranked as having the thirteenth most competitive financial services
center in the world and the second most competitive in the United States.
Boston-based Fidelity Investments
helped popularize the mutual fund
in the 1980s and has made Boston one of the top financial centers in the United States.
The city is home to the headquarters of Santander Bank
, and Boston is a center for venture capital
firms. State Street Corporation
, which specializes in asset management and custody services, is based in the city. Boston is a printing and publishing
—Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
is headquartered within the city, along with Bedford-St. Martin's Press
and Beacon Press
. Pearson PLC
publishing units also employ several hundred people in Boston. The city is home to three major convention centers
—the Hynes Convention Center
in the Back Bay, and the Seaport World Trade Center
and Boston Convention and Exhibition Center
on the South Boston waterfront
The General Electric Corporation
announced in January 2016 its decision to move the company's global headquarters to the Seaport District
in Boston, from Fairfield
, Connecticut, citing factors including Boston's preeminence in the realm of higher education
Boston is home to the headquarters of several major athletic and footwear companies including Converse
, New Balance
, and Reebok
and Wolverine World Wide, Inc.
headquarters or regional offices
are just outside the city.
In 2019, a yearly ranking of time wasted in traffic listed Boston area drivers lost approximately 164 hours a year in lost productivity due to the area's traffic congestion. This amounted to $2,300 a year per driver in costs.
Primary and secondary education
The Boston Public Schools
enroll 57,000 students attending 145 schools, including the renowned Boston Latin Academy
, John D. O'Bryant School of Math & Science
, and Boston Latin School
. The Boston Latin School was established in 1635 and is the oldest public high school in the US. Boston also operates the United States' second-oldest public high school and its oldest public elementary school.
The system's students are 40% Hispanic or Latino, 35% Black or African American, 13% White, and 9% Asian.
There are private, parochial, and charter schools
as well, and approximately 3,300 minority students attend participating suburban schools through the Metropolitan Educational Opportunity Council
In September 2019, the city formally inaugurated Boston Saves, a program that provides every child enrolled in the city's kindergarten
system a savings account
containing $50 to be used toward college or career training.
Map of Boston-area universities
Some of the most renowned and highly ranked universities in the world are near Boston.
Three universities with a major presence in the city, Harvard
, and Tufts
, are just outside of Boston in the cities of Cambridge
, known as the Brainpower Triangle
Harvard is the nation's oldest institute of higher education and is centered across the Charles River in Cambridge, though the majority of its land holdings and a substantial amount of its educational activities are in Boston. Its business
school and athletics facilities are in Boston's Allston
neighborhood, and its medical
, and public health
schools are located in the Longwood
Four members of the Association of American Universities
are in Greater Boston (more than any other metropolitan area): Harvard University
, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
, Boston University
, and Brandeis University
Furthermore, Greater Boston contains seven Highest Research Activity (R1) Universities
as per the Carnegie Classification
. This includes, in addition to the aforementioned four, Boston College
, Northeastern University
, and Tufts University
. This is, by a large margin, the highest concentration of such institutions in a single metropolitan area. Hospitals, universities, and research institutions in Greater Boston received more than $1.77 billion in National Institutes of Health
grants in 2013, more money than any other American metropolitan area.
Greater Boston has more than 100 colleges and universities, with 250,000 students enrolled in Boston and Cambridge alone.
The city's largest private universities include Boston University
(also the city's fourth-largest employer),
with its main campus along Commonwealth Avenue
and a medical campus in the South End
, Northeastern University
in the Fenway
area, Suffolk University
near Beacon Hill
, which includes law school
and business school
and Boston College
, which straddles the Boston (Brighton)–Newton border.
Boston's only public university is the University of Massachusetts Boston
on Columbia Point in Dorchester
. Roxbury Community College
and Bunker Hill Community College
are the city's two public community colleges. Altogether, Boston's colleges and universities employ more than 42,600 people, accounting for nearly seven percent of the city's workforce.
Smaller private colleges include Babson College
, Bentley University
, Boston Architectural College
, Emmanuel College
, Fisher College
, MGH Institute of Health Professions
, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
, Simmons College
, Wellesley College
, Wheelock College
, Wentworth Institute of Technology
, New England School of Law
(originally established as America's first all female law school),
and Emerson College
A Boston Police cruiser on Beacon Street
Boston included $414 million in spending on the Boston Police Department
in the fiscal 2021 budget. This is the second largest allocation of funding by the city after the allocation to Boston Public Schools.
Like many major American cities, Boston has seen a great reduction in violent crime since the early 1990s. Boston's low crime rate since the 1990s has been credited to the Boston Police Department's collaboration with neighborhood groups and church parishes to prevent youths from joining gangs, as well as involvement from the United States Attorney and District Attorney
's offices. This helped lead in part to what has been touted as the "Boston Miracle". Murders in the city dropped from 152 in 1990 (for a murder rate of 26.5 per 100,000 people) to just 31—not one of them a juvenile—in 1999 (for a murder rate of 5.26 per 100,000).
In 2008, there were 62 reported homicides.
Through December 30, 2016, major crime was down seven percent and there were 46 homicides compared to 40 in 2015.
In the early 1800s, William Tudor
wrote that Boston was "'perhaps the most perfect and certainly the best-regulated democracy that ever existed. There is something so impossible in the immortal fame of Athens, that the very name makes everything modern shrink from comparison; but since the days of that glorious city I know of none that has approached so near in some points, distant as it may still be from that illustrious model.'
From this, Boston has been called the "Athens
of America" (also a nickname of Philadelphia
) for its literary culture
, earning a reputation as "the intellectual capital of the United States".
Music is afforded a high degree of civic support
in Boston. The Boston Symphony Orchestra
is one of the "Big Five
", a group of the greatest American orchestras, and the classical music magazine Gramophone
called it one of the "world's best" orchestras. Symphony Hall
(west of Back Bay) is home to the Boston Symphony Orchestra
and the related Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra
, which is the largest youth orchestra in the nation, and to the Boston Pops Orchestra
. The British newspaper The Guardian
called Boston Symphony Hall "one of the top venues for classical music in the world", adding "Symphony Hall in Boston was where science became an essential part of concert hall design".
Other concerts are held at the New England Conservatory
's Jordan Hall
. The Boston Ballet
performs at the Boston Opera House
. Other performing-arts organizations in the city include the Boston Lyric Opera Company
, Opera Boston
, Boston Baroque
(the first permanent Baroque orchestra in the US),
and the Handel and Haydn Society
(one of the oldest choral companies in the United States).
The city is a center for contemporary classical music with a number of performing groups, several of which are associated with the city's conservatories and universities. These include the Boston Modern Orchestra Project
and Boston Musica Viva
Several theaters are in or near the Theater District
south of Boston Common, including the Cutler Majestic Theatre
, Citi Performing Arts Center
, the Colonial Theater
, and the Orpheum Theatre
There are several major annual events, such as First Night
which occurs on New Year's Eve, the Boston Early Music Festival
, the annual Boston Arts Festival
at Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park, the annual Boston gay pride
parade and festival held in June, and Italian summer feasts in the North End honoring Catholic saints.
The city is the site of several events during the Fourth of July
period. They include the week-long Harborfest festivities
and a Boston Pops concert accompanied by fireworks on the banks of the Charles River
Boston has been a noted religious center from its earliest days. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston
serves nearly 300 parishes and is based in the Cathedral of the Holy Cross
(1875) in the South End, while the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts
serves just under 200 congregations, with the Cathedral Church of St. Paul
(1819) as its episcopal seat. Unitarian Universalism
has its headquarters in the Fort Point neighborhood. The Christian Scientists
are headquartered in Back Bay at the Mother Church
(1894). The oldest church in Boston is First Church in Boston
, founded in 1630. King's Chapel
was the city's first Anglican church, founded in 1686 and converted to Unitarianism in 1785. Other churches include Christ Church (better known as Old North Church
, 1723), the oldest church building in the city, Trinity Church
(1733), Park Street Church
(1809), Old South Church
(1874), Jubilee Christian Church
, and Basilica and Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Help
on Mission Hill
in Boston is generally very good. Between 2004 and 2013, there were only four days in which the air was unhealthy for the general public, according to the EPA
Some of the cleaner energy facilities in Boston include the Allston green district, with three ecologically compatible housing facilities.
Boston is also breaking ground on multiple green affordable housing
facilities to help reduce the carbon impact of the city while simultaneously making these initiatives financially available to a greater population. Boston's climate plan is updated every three years and was most recently modified in 2013. This legislature includes the Building Energy Reporting and Disclosure Ordinance, which requires the city's larger buildings to disclose their yearly energy and water use statistics and to partake in an energy assessment every five years. These statistics are made public by the city, thereby increasing incentives for buildings to be more environmentally conscious.
Mayor Thomas Menino introduced the Renew Boston Whole Building Incentive which reduces the cost of living in buildings that are deemed energy efficient. This gives people an opportunity to find housing in neighborhoods that support the environment. The ultimate goal of this initiative is to enlist 500 Bostonians to participate in a free, in-home energy assessment.
Water purity and availability
Many older buildings in certain areas of Boston are supported by wooden piles driven into the area's fill; these piles remain sound if submerged in water, but are subject to dry rot
if exposed to air for long periods.
Ground water levels have been dropping in many areas of the city, due in part to an increase in the amount of rainwater discharged directly into sewers rather than absorbed by the ground. The Boston Groundwater Trust coordinates monitoring ground water levels throughout the city via a network of public and private monitoring wells.
However, Boston's drinking water supply from the Quabbin
and Wachusett Reservoirs
is one of the very few in the country so pure as to satisfy the Federal Clean Water Act
Climate change and sea level rise
Population density and elevation above sea level in Greater Boston (2010)
The City of Boston has developed a climate action plan covering carbon reduction in buildings, transportation, and energy use.
Mayor Thomas Menino commissioned the city's first Climate Action Plan in 2007, with an update released in 2011.
Since then, Mayor Marty Walsh
has built upon these plans with further updates released in 2014 and 2019. As a coastal city built largely on fill
, sea-level rise is of major concern to the city government. The latest version of the climate action plan anticipates between two and seven feet of sea-level rise in Boston by the end of the century. A separate initiative, Resilient Boston Harbor, lays out neighborhood-specific recommendations for coastal resilience.
Boston has teams in the four major North American professional sports leagues
plus Major League Soccer
, and, as of 2019
, has won 39 championships in these leagues. It is one of eight cities (along with Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, St. Louis and Washington) to have won championships in all four major American sports leagues. It has been suggested
that Boston is the new "TitleTown, USA", as the city's professional sports teams have won twelve championships since 2001: Patriots (2001, 2003, 2004, 2014, 2016 and 2018), Red Sox (2004, 2007, 2013, and 2018), Celtics (2008), and Bruins (2011). This love of sports made Boston the United States Olympic Committee
's choice to bid
to hold the 2024 Summer Olympic Games
, but the city cited financial concerns when it withdrew its bid on July 27, 2015.
The Boston Red Sox
, a founding member of the American League
of Major League Baseball
in 1901, play their home games at Fenway Park
, near Kenmore Square
, in the city's Fenway
section. Built in 1912, it is the oldest sports arena or stadium in active use in the United States among the four major professional American sports leagues, Major League Baseball
, the National Football League
, National Basketball Association
, and the National Hockey League
Boston was the site of the first game of the first modern World Series
, in 1903. The series was played between the AL Champion Boston Americans
and the NL champion Pittsburgh Pirates
Persistent reports that the team was known in 1903 as the "Boston Pilgrims" appear to be unfounded.
Boston's first professional baseball team was the Red Stockings, one of the charter members of the National Association
in 1871, and of the National League
in 1876. The team played under that name until 1883, under the name Beaneaters until 1911, and under the name Braves from 1912 until they moved to Milwaukee
after the 1952 season. Since 1966 they have played in Atlanta
as the Atlanta Braves
The TD Garden
, formerly called the FleetCenter and built to replace the old, since-demolished Boston Garden
, is adjoined to North Station
and is the home of two major league teams: the Boston Bruins
of the National Hockey League
and the Boston Celtics
of the National Basketball Association
. The arena seats 18,624 for basketball games and 17,565 for ice hockey games. The Bruins were the first American member of the National Hockey League
and an Original Six
The Boston Celtics were founding members of the Basketball Association of America
, one of the two leagues that merged to form the NBA.
The Celtics, along with the Los Angeles Lakers
, have the distinction of having won more championships than any other NBA team, both with seventeen.
The venue is also set to host the 2020 Laver Cup
, an international men's tennis tournament consisting of two teams: Team Europe and Team World, the latter of which consisting of non-European players. This will be the 4th edition of the tournament, and the first time Boston has hosted an ATP tournament since 1999, where Marat Safin
defeated Greg Rusedski
Parks and recreation
, near the Financial District and Beacon Hill, is the oldest public park in the United States.
Along with the adjacent Boston Public Garden
, it is part of the Emerald Necklace
, a string of parks designed by Frederick Law Olmsted
to encircle the city. The Emerald Necklace includes the Back Bay Fens
, Arnold Arboretum
, Jamaica Pond
, Boston's largest body of freshwater, and Franklin Park
, the city's largest park and home of the Franklin Park Zoo
Another major park is the Esplanade
, along the banks of the Charles River. The Hatch Shell
, an outdoor concert venue, is adjacent to the Charles River Esplanade. Other parks are scattered throughout the city, with major parks and beaches near Castle Island
, in Charlestown and along the Dorchester, South Boston, and East Boston shorelines.
Boston's park system is well-reputed nationally. In its 2013 ParkScore ranking, The Trust for Public Land
reported Boston was tied with Sacramento
and San Francisco
for having the third-best park system among the 50 most populous US cities.
ParkScore ranks city park systems by a formula that analyzes the city's median park size, park acres as percent of city area, the percent of residents within a half-mile of a park, spending of park services per resident, and the number of playgrounds per 10,000 residents.
Government and politics
The city uses an algorithm created by the Walsh administration, called CityScore, to measure the effectiveness of various city services. This score is available on a public online dashboard and allows city managers in police, fire, schools, emergency management services, and 3-1-1
to take action and make adjustments in areas of concern.
Boston has an ordinance, enacted in 2014, that bars the Boston Police Department
"from detaining anyone based on their immigration status unless they have a criminal warrant".
Presidential election results
The Boston Globe
is the oldest and largest daily newspaper in the city
and is generally acknowledged as its paper of record
The city is also served by other publications such as the Boston Herald
, Boston magazine
, and the Boston edition of Metro
. The Christian Science Monitor
, headquartered in Boston, was formerly a worldwide daily newspaper but ended publication of daily print editions in 2009, switching to continuous online and weekly magazine format publications. The Boston Globe
also releases a teen publication to the city's public high schools, called Teens in Print
, which is written by the city's teens and delivered quarterly within the school year.The Improper Bostonian
, a glossy lifestyle magazine, was published from 1991 through April 2019.
The Bay State Banner is an independent newspaper primarily geared toward the readership interests of the African-American community in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bay State Banner was founded in 1965 by Melvin B. Miller who remains the chief editor and publisher. In 2015, the publication celebrated its 50th anniversary serving the region's minority-oriented neighborhoods.
There are a number of weekly newspapers dedicated to Boston neighborhoods. Among them is South Boston Online, founded in 1999, which appears in print and online, and covers events in South Boston and the Seaport District.
Various LGBT publications serve the city's large LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) population such as The Rainbow Times
, the only minority and lesbian-owned LGBT news magazine. Founded in 2006, The Rainbow Times
is now based out of Boston, but serves all of New England.
Radio and television
Boston is the largest broadcasting market in New England, with the radio market being the ninth largest in the United States.
Several major AM
stations include talk radio WRKO
/talk station WEEI
, and iHeartMedia WBZ
WBZ (AM) broadcasts a news radio
format and is a 50,000 watt "clear channel" station, whose nighttime broadcasts are heard hundreds of miles from Boston. A variety of commercial FM radio formats
serve the area, as do NPR
. College and university radio stations include WERS
(UMass Boston), WMBR
(Boston College), WMFO
(Tufts University), WBRS
(Brandeis University), WTBU
(Boston University, campus and web only), WRBB
(Northeastern University) and WMLN-FM
The Boston television DMA
, which also includes Manchester
, New Hampshire, is the 8th largest in the United States.
The city is served by stations representing every major American network
, including WBZ-TV
4 and its sister station WSBK-TV
38 (the former a CBS O&O
, the latter a MyNetwork TV
5 and its sister station WMUR-TV
9 (both ABC
7 and its sister station WLVI
56 (the former an independent station
, the latter a CW
15 (a NBC
O&O), and WFXT
). The city is also home to PBS
member station WGBH-TV
2, a major producer of PBS programs,
which also operates WGBX
44. Spanish-language television networks, including UniMás
60, a sister station to WBTS-CD), and Univisión
66), have a presence in the region, with WNEU and WUNI serving as network owned-and-operated stations
. Most of the area's television stations have their transmitters in nearby Needham
along the Route 128 corridor
Six Boston television stations are carried by Canadian satellite television provider Bell TV and by cable television providers in Canada.
Films have been made in Boston since as early as 1903, and it continues to be both a popular setting and a popular filming location.
Notable movies like The Fighter
and The Town
were filmed in Boston.
The Longwood Medical and Academic Area
, adjacent to the Fenway district, is home to a large number of medical and research facilities, including Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
, Brigham and Women's Hospital
, Boston Children's Hospital
, Dana–Farber Cancer Institute
, Harvard Medical School
, Harvard School of Dental Medicine
, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
, Joslin Diabetes Center
, and the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
Prominent medical facilities, including Massachusetts General Hospital
, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary
and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital
are in the Beacon Hill area. St. Elizabeth's Medical Center
is in Brighton Center of the city's Brighton neighborhood. New England Baptist Hospital
is in Mission Hill. The city has Veterans Affairs medical centers
in the Jamaica Plain and West Roxbury neighborhoods.
The Boston Public Health Commission
, an agency of the Massachusetts government, oversees health concerns for city residents. Boston EMS
provides pre-hospital emergency medical services to residents and visitors.
An MBTA Red Line
train departing Boston for Cambridge. Bostonians depend heavily on public transit, with over 1.3 million Bostonians riding the city's buses and trains daily (2013).
Downtown Boston's streets grew organically, so they do not form a planned grid
unlike those in later-developed Back Bay
, East Boston
, the South End
, and South Boston
. Boston is the eastern terminus of I-90
, which in Massachusetts runs along the Massachusetts Turnpike
. The elevated portion of the Central Artery
, which carried most of the through traffic in downtown Boston, was replaced with the O'Neill Tunnel
during the Big Dig
, substantially completed
in early 2006. The former and current Central Artery follow I-93
as the primary north–south artery from the city. Other major highways include US 1
, which carries traffic to the North Shore
and areas south of Boston, US 3
, which connects to the northwestern suburbs, Massachusetts Route 3
, which connects to the South Shore
and Cape Cod
, and Massachusetts Route 2
which connects to the western suburbs. Surrounding the city is Massachusetts Route 128
, a partial beltway which has been largely subsumed by other routes (mostly I-95
intercity rail to Boston is provided through four stations: South Station
, North Station
, Back Bay
, and Route 128
. South Station is a major intermodal transportation
hub and is the terminus of Amtrak's Northeast Regional
, Acela Express
, and Lake Shore Limited
routes, in addition to multiple MBTA services. Back Bay is also served by MBTA and those three Amtrak routes, while Route 128, in the southwestern suburbs of Boston, is only served by the Acela Express
and Northeast Regional
Meanwhile, Amtrak's Downeaster
, Maine terminates in North Station, and is the only Amtrak route to do so.
Nicknamed "The Walking City", Boston hosts more pedestrian commuters than do other comparably populated cities. Owing to factors such as necessity, the compactness of the city and large student population, 13 percent of the population commutes by foot, making it the highest percentage of pedestrian commuters in the country
out of the major American cities.
In 2011, Walk Score
ranked Boston the third most walkable city in the United States.
As of 2015, Walk Score still ranks Boston as the third most walkable US city, with a Walk Score of 80, a Transit Score of 75, and a Bike Score of 70.
Between 1999 and 2006, Bicycling
magazine named Boston three times as one of the worst cities in the US for cycling;
regardless, it has one of the highest rates of bicycle commuting
In 2008, as a consequence of improvements made to bicycling conditions within the city, the same magazine put Boston on its "Five for the Future" list as a "Future Best City" for biking,
and Boston's bicycle commuting percentage increased from 1% in 2000 to 2.1% in 2009.
The bikeshare program Bluebikes
, originally called Hubway, launched in late July 2011,
logging more than 140,000 rides before the close of its first season.
The neighboring municipalities of Cambridge
, and Brookline
joined the Hubway program in the summer of 2012.
In 2016, there are 1,461 bikes and 158 docking stations across the city. PBSC Urban Solutions
provides bicycles and technology for this bike-sharing system
In 2013, the Boston-Cambridge-Newton metropolitan statistical area (Boston MSA) had the seventh-lowest percentage of workers who commuted by private automobile (75.6 percent), with 6.2 percent of area workers traveling via rail transit. During the period starting in 2006 and ending in 2013, the Boston MSA had the greatest percentage decline of workers commuting by automobile (3.3 percent) among MSAs with more than a half-million residents.
- Kyoto, Japan (1959)
- Strasbourg, France (1960)
- Barcelona, Spain (1980)
- Hangzhou, China (1982)
- Padua, Italy (1983)
- Melbourne, Australia (1985)
- Beira, Mozambique (1990)
- Taipei, Taiwan (1996)
- Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana (2001)
- Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK (2014)
- Praia, Cape Verde (2015)
- Boston, Lincolnshire, UK (2015)
Boston has formal partnership relationships through a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) with four additional cities or regions:
- ^ On the New Style (modern) calendar, anniversaries fall on September 17.
- ^ On the New Style (modern) calendar, anniversaries of the original Old Style date fall on September 17.
- ^ The average number of days with a low at or below freezing is 94.
- ^ Seasonal snowfall accumulation has ranged from 9.0 in (22.9 cm) in 1936–37 to 110.6 in (2.81 m) in 2014–15.
- ^ Mean monthly maxima and minima (i.e. the expected highest and lowest temperature readings at any point during the year or given month) calculated based on data at said location from 1991 to 2020.
- ^ Official records for Boston were kept at downtown from January 1872 to December 1935, and at Logan Airport (KBOS) since January 1936.
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Last edited on 15 June 2021, at 04:22
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