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New Demographic Trends Show Boston Residents Advancing

By Michael Givens , Aug. 07, 2018
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Wednesday, July 11, was World Population Day, a 29-year-old international holiday established by the United Nations acknowledging the importance of monitoring the planet’s population growth and demographic trends. With an eye toward maintaining its reputation as an international metropolis, the City of Boston is actively encouraging residents to be fully involved in helping the city keep up with a growing population.

Boston 2018

The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs projects that by 2030 the world population will jump from 7.6 billion to 8.6 billion people. Twenty years after that, in 2050, the world’s population is expected to be about 9.8 billion people. The United States—with a population of roughly 329 million people—ranks as the third most populated nation, following India in second place (1.2 billion) and China in first (1.3 billion).

“While the state’s population growth of 1.5 percent is just behind the nation’s rate of 1.7 percent, Massachusetts as a whole is still doing better than most of the country, and it’s now the fastest-growing state in the northeast,” according to World Population Review (WPR).

And with a change in demographic trends comes a demand to be responsive to the millions of people living in Boston and its surrounding areas.

Boston has a population of roughly 667,000 people and the Greater Boston area reportedly has up to 4.7 million residents, making it the 10th largest metropolitan area in the nation. WPR estimates that Boston has an annual growth rate of 3.1 percent. Just two days after World Population Day in 2017, the City of Boston released Imagine Boston 2030 (IB 2030), a comprehensive guide to how Massachusetts’ capital will adapt to the ever-changing needs of its residents. Rather than serve as a manual that lays out a bold plan, IB 2030 is a clarion call for all of us to get involved and make Boston the best city it can be.

“Boston is projected to reach a population of 724,000 by 2030 and 801,000 by 2050…” reads a section of the report, which boasts that “15,000 voices guided” the creation of an ambitious plan to ensure that Boston remains resilient and responds to the needs of its growing population. Seeking to build a plan to tackle a growing residency in the next decade and beyond, IB 2030 relied heavily on Boston’s most valuable resource to surface ideas: it’s residents.

The 472-page plan highlights several areas that Boston plans to address, which includes expanding neighborhoods and building more affordable housing, addressing climate change, and tackling income inequality. The plan commits to:

• Build 53,000 more units of housing in the city
• Provide universal Pre-K services for families
• Renovate public schools
• Adjust school curricula to be more student-centered
• Reduce greenhouse gas emissions

At the heart of these ambitious goals is an intrinsic commitment to those living and working in Boston. With a philosophy of a rising tide raises all ships, IB 2030 takes a comprehensive approach to ensuring that every one of us benefits from the city’s growth.

Small businesses will be encouraged to set up shop and more opportunities for industrial growth will be sought. Job training opportunities for vulnerable residents and expanding employment options for youth are also key economic goals. Improving the city’s transportation system and making Boston more friendly to immigrants were also identified as key areas of focus. The report explains that the city will partner with local, federal, and state government; public and private partners; and its own residents to accomplish these goals.

“Today, Boston is in a uniquely powerful position to make our city more affordable, equitable, connected, and resilient,” the report states. “We will seize this moment to guide our growth to support our dynamic economy, connect more residents to opportunity, create vibrant neighborhoods, and continue our legacy as a thriving waterfront city.”

Learn more about Imagine Boston 2030 (IB 2030) and its plans for the city of Boston.

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