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Population of children in Boston dropped slightly even as city’s overall population grew, census data show

Hakim Cunningham pushes his 4-year-old daughter Schuyler on a swing at the Doris F. Tillman Playground near Nubian Square on Thursday afternoon.Erin Clark/Globe Staff

In Boston, and across much of Massachusetts, the population is growing older, new census figures show.

While the Boston population as a whole increased from the 2010 census, data released from the 2020 census showed a slight drop in the city’s population of children, as well as a drop in children as a share of the whole Boston population.

In 2010, there were approximately 103,710 children in Boston. In 2020, that number decreased by 1.8 percent to 101,811 children, according to data released by the federal government this week. The declines came even as Boston’s population grew by 9 percent.


Children as a share of the whole Boston population also dropped slightly — by 1.7 percent. According to the census in 2010, the percentage of children under 18 was 16.8 percent. In the 2020 census, it dropped to 15.1 percent. This means that compared to ten years ago, children make up less of Boston’s population, even though more people now live in the city.

Boston wasn’t the only community to see such a decline. As the map below shows, many towns in Western and Central Massachusetts also saw big drops in their 17 and under population compared to the 2010 census. Some of the most dramatic drops occurred in very small towns that also lost population as a whole, including Middlefield, which saw a 26 percent drop in overall population and 53 percent drop in the population of children.

In Massachusetts, the vast majority of towns grew older over the last decade, with all but 10 communities losing kids as a share of the population. The communities that got younger were Monroe, Wendell, Brookline, Heath, Alford, Arlington, Waltham, Cambridge, Tyringham, and Revere. Many of those communities, including Revere, Cambridge, and Arlington, also saw big population growth over the last decade.


The federal government will continue to release more data over the coming months.

Maria Elena Little Endara can be reached at mariaelena.littleendara@globe.com. Daigo Fujiwara can be reached at daigo.fujiwara@globe.com. Follow him @DaigoFuji.