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Boston is the capital and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. Boston city proper had a 2009 estimated population of 645,169, making it the twentieth largest in the country. Boston is also the anchor of a substantially larger metropolitan area called Greater Boston, home to 4.5 million people and the tenth-largest metropolitan area in the country. Greater Boston as a commuting region includes six Massachusetts counties, Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Suffolk, Plymouth, and Worcester, all of Rhode Island and parts of New Hampshire; it is home to 7.5 million people, making it the fifth-largest Combined Statistical Area in the United States.
In 1630, Puritan colonists from England founded the city on the Shawmut Peninsula. During the late 18th century, Boston was the location of several major events during the American Revolution, including the Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party. Several early battles of the American Revolution, such as the Battle of Bunker Hill and the Siege of Boston, occurred within the city and surrounding areas. Through land reclamation and municipal annexation, Boston has expanded beyond the peninsula. After American independence was attained Boston became a major shipping port and manufacturing center, and its rich history now helps attract 16.3 million visitors annually. The city was the site of several firsts, including America's first public school, Boston Latin School (1635), and the first subway system in the United States.
With many colleges and universities within the city and surrounding area, Boston is a center of higher education and a center for medicine. The city's economy is also based on research, electronics, engineering, finance, and high technology—principally biotechnology. As a result, the city is a leading finance center, ranking 14th in the top 20 Global Financial Centers. The city was also ranked number one for innovation, both globally and in North America, for a variety of reasons. Boston has been experiencing gentrification, and has one of the highest costs of living in the United States, though it remains high on world livability rankings.
Boston's colleges and universities have a major effect on the city and region's economy, with students contributing an estimated $4.8 billion annually to the city's economy. Not only are Boston's schools major employers, but they also attract high-tech industries to the city and surrounding region. Boston 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 also receives the highest absolute amount of annual funding from the National Institutes of Health of all cities in the United States.
Tourism comprises a large part of Boston's economy. In 2004, tourists spent $7.9 billion and made the city one of the ten-most-popular tourist locations in the country. Some of the other important industries are financial services, especially mutual funds and insurance. Boston-based Fidelity Investments helped popularize the mutual fund in the 1980s and has made Boston one of the top financial cities in the United States. The city is also the regional headquarters of major banks such as Bank of America and Sovereign Bank, and it is a center for venture capital. State Street Corporation, which specializes in asset management and custody services, has its headquarters in the city. Boston is also a printing and publishing center—Houghton Mifflin is headquartered within the city, along with Bedford-St. Martin's Press, Beacon Press, and Little, Brown and Company. Pearson PLC publishing units also employ several hundred people in Boston. The city is home to four major convention centers—the Hynes Convention Center in the Back Bay, the Bayside Expo Center in Dorchester, and the Seaport World Trade Center and Boston Convention and Exhibition Center on the South Boston waterfront. However, in 2009, the Bayside Expo Center property was lost in a foreclosure on Corcoran-Jennison to a Florida-based real estate firm, LNR/CMAT, who bought it. Soon after, the University of Massachusetts Boston bought the property from them to build future campus facilities.
Because of Boston's status as a state capital and the regional home of federal agencies, law and government are another major component of the city's economy.
Some of the major companies headquartered within the city are the Liberty Mutual insurance company; Gillette (now owned by Procter & Gamble); New Balance has its headquarters in the city. Boston is also home to management consulting firms The Boston Consulting Group and Bain & Company, as well as the private equity group Bain Capital. The Ad Club serves as a networking company to Boston-based companies and advertising. Other major companies are located outside the city, especially along Route 128. Route 128 serves as the center of the region's high-tech industry.
Encompassing $363 billion, the Greater Boston metropolitan area has the sixth-largest economy in the country. In 2006, Boston and its metropolitan area ranked as the fourth-largest cybercity in the United States with 191,700 high-tech jobs. Only NYC Metro, DC Metro, and Silicon Valley have larger high-tech sectors. The Port of Boston is a major seaport along the United States' East Coast and is also the oldest continuously operated industrial and fishing port in the Western Hemisphere. Boston is classified as an "incipient global city" by a 2004 study group at Loughborough University in England. A 2008 study ranked Boston among the top 10 cities in the world for a career in finance.
Boston shares many cultural roots with greater New England, including a dialect of the non-rhotic Eastern New England accent known as Boston English, and a regional cuisine with a large emphasis on seafood, salt, and dairy products. Irish Americans are a major influence on Boston's politics and religious institutions. Boston also has its own collection of neologisms known as Boston slang.
Bostonians are often considered to have a strong sense of cultural identity, perhaps as a result of its intellectual reputation; much of Boston's culture originates at its universities. The city has a number of ornate theatres, including the Cutler Majestic Theatre, Boston Opera House, Citi Performing Arts Center, the Colonial Theater, and the Orpheum Theatre. Renowned performing-arts organizations include the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston Ballet, Boston Early Music Festival, Boston Lyric Opera Company, OperaBoston, and the Handel and Haydn Society (one of the oldest choral companies in the United States). The city is also a major center for contemporary classical music, with a number of performing groups, some of which are associated with the city's conservatories and universities. There are also many major annual events such as First Night, which occurs on New Year's Eve, the annual Boston Arts Festival at Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park, Italian summer feasts in the North End honoring Catholic saints, and several events during the Fourth of July period. These events include the week-long Harborfest festivities and a Boston Pops concert accompanied by fireworks on the banks of the Charles River.
Because of the city's prominent role in the American Revolution, several historic sites relating to that period are preserved as part of the Boston National Historical Park. Many are found along the Freedom Trail, which is marked by a red line of bricks embedded in the ground. The city is also home to several prominent art museums, including the Museum of Fine Arts and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. In December 2006, the Institute of Contemporary Art moved from its Back Bay location to a new contemporary building designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro located in the Seaport District. The University of Massachusetts campus at Columbia Point houses the John F. Kennedy Library. The Boston Athenaeum (one of the oldest independent libraries in the United States), Boston Children's Museum, Bull & Finch Pub (whose building is known from the television show Cheers), Museum of Science, and the New England Aquarium are within the city.
Boston is also one of the birthplaces of the hardcore punk genre of music. Boston musicians have contributed significantly to this music scene over the years. Boston neighborhoods were home to one of the leading local third wave ska and ska punk scenes in the 1990s, led by bands such as The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and The Allstonians. The 1980s' hardcore punk-rock compilation This Is Boston, Not L.A. highlights some of the bands that built the genre. Several nightclubs, such as The Channel, Bunnratty's in Allston, and The Rathskeller, were renowned for showcasing both local punk-rock bands and those from farther afield. All of these clubs are now closed. Many were razed or converted during recent gentrification.
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, with the Cathedral Church of St. Paul (1819) as its episcopal seat, serves just under 200 congregations. Two Protestant faiths are headquartered in Boston: Unitarian Universalism, with its headquarters on Beacon Hill, and the Christian Scientists, headquartered in Back Bay at the Mother Church (1894). The oldest church in Boston is King's Chapel, the city's first Anglican church, founded in 1686 and converted to Unitarianism in 1785. Other notable 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), First Church in Boston (congregation founded 1630, building raised 1868), Old South Church (1874), and Mission Hill's Basilica and Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Help (1878).
Boston's reputation as "the Athens of America" derives in large part from the teaching and research activities of more than 100 colleges and universities located in the Greater Boston Area, with more than 250,000 students attending college in Boston and Cambridge alone. Within the city, Boston University exudes a large presence as the city's fourth-largest employer, and maintains a campus along the Charles River on Commonwealth Avenue and its medical campus in the South End. Northeastern University, another large private university, is located in the Fenway area, and is particularly known for its Business and Health Science schools and cooperative education program. Suffolk University, the third largest university in Boston, is located in the Beacon Hill area, and is known for its law school and business programs. Boston College, a private Catholic Jesuit university, whose original campus was located in the South End, now straddles the Boston (Brighton)-Newton border, with planned expansions further into Brighton. Boston's only public university is the University of Massachusetts Boston, located on Columbia Point in Dorchester and Roxbury Community College and Bunker Hill Community College are the city's two public community colleges.
Boston has several smaller private colleges and universities including, Wheelock College, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Simmons College, Emmanuel College, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and Wentworth Institute of Technology are founding members of the Colleges of the Fenway and are located adjacent to Northeastern University. New England School of Law, a small private law school located in the theater district, was originally established as America's first all female law school. Emerson College, a small private college with a strong reputation in the fields of performing arts, journalism, writing, and film, is located near Boston Common.
Boston is also home to several conservatories and art schools, including The Art Institute of Boston (Lesley University), Massachusetts College of Art, New England Institute of Art, New England School of Art and Design (Suffolk University), and the New England Conservatory (the oldest independent conservatory in the United States). Other conservatories include the Boston Conservatory, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Berklee College of Music.
Several major national universities located outside Boston have a major presence in the city. Harvard University, the nation's oldest, is located across the Charles River in Cambridge. The business and medical schools are in Boston, and there are plans for additional expansion into Boston's Allston neighborhood. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which originated in Boston and was long known as "Boston Tech," moved across the river to Cambridge in 1916. Tufts University administers its medical and dental school adjacent to the Tufts Medical Center, a 451-bed academic medical institution that is home to both a full-service hospital for adults and the Floating Hospital for Children.
Boston Public Schools, the oldest public school system in the U.S., enrolls 57,000 students from pre-kindergarten to grade 12. The system operates 145 schools, which includes Boston Latin School (the oldest public school in the United States, established in 1635; which, along with Boston Latin Academy and John D. O'Bryant School of Math & Science, are highly prestigious public exam schools admitting students in the 7th and 9th grades only and serving grades 7–12), English High (the oldest public high school, established 1821), and the Mather School (the oldest public elementary school, established in 1639). In 2002, Forbes Magazine ranked the Boston Public Schools as the best large city school system in the country, with a graduation rate of 82%. In 2005, the student population within the school system was 45.5% Black or African American, 31.2% Hispanic or Latino, 14% White, and 9% Asian, as compared with 24%, 14%, 49%, and 8% respectively for the city as a whole. The city also has private, parochial, and charter schools and approximately 3000 students of racial minorities attend participating suburban schools through the Metropolitan Educational Opportunity Council, or METCO.
Boston MA Area Information
- Total Crime Risk: 212.0 (100 = National Average)
- Population: 647,278
- Population Growth Since 2000: 9.87%
- Annual Max Avg. Temperature: 59 F
- Annual Min Avg. Temperature: 44 F
- Male Median Age: 31 years
- Female Median Age: 32.9 years
- Median Household Income: $52,343
- Highest Education Level Attained: High School 25.14%, Bachelors 21.37%, Grad School 15.95%
Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Demographic Information FAQ
|2010 Population Growth and Population Statistics||Boston, MA||Massachusetts|
|Population Change Since 1990||12.69%||10.02%|
|Population Change Since 2000||9.87%||4.25%|
|Forecasted Population Change by 2014||6.96%||3.85%|
Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Demographic Information FAQ
|2010 Weather Summary||Boston, MA||Massachusetts|
|Annual Maximum Avg. Temperature||59.0 °F||57.0 °F|
|Annual Minimum Avg. Temperature||44.0 °F||40.0 °F|
|Annual Avg. Temperature||51.3 °F||48.2 °F|
|Annual Heating Degree Days (Tot Degrees < 65)||5,641||6,530|
|Annual Cooling Degree Days (Tot Degrees > 65)||678||439|
|Percent of Possible Sunshine||58||52|
|Mean Sky Cover (Sunrise to Sunset - Out of 10)||6||6|
|Mean Number of Days Clear (Out of 365 Days)||98||92|
|Mean Number of Days Rain (Out of 365 Days)||127||132|
|Mean Number of Days Snow (Out of 365 Days)||11||15|
|Avg. Annual Precipitation (Total Inches)||42.00"||47.00"|
|Avg. Annual Snowfall (Total Inches)||41.00"||59.00"|
Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Demographic Information FAQ
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