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Back-to-school in Boston by the numbers

Expect some moving trucks to be “Storrowed” over the weekend.pat greenhouse/globe staff/file

College students are rolling back into Boston like the tide. Move-in season has started for some, and will continue for many up through the first week of September. Students make up 20 percent of the city’s population, so this means major changes — and potential headaches — for the Boston area. Here is a by-the-numbers sampling of their impact on the region.

There are 29 colleges and universities in Boston alone.

Move-in weekend, over the Labor Day holiday, will hit some areas harder than others. Boston University students will be moving in around Commonwealth Avenue, a major city thoroughfare, which causes chaos like clockwork each year. Not to mention the Storrow Drive overpass that nearly broke the Internet last year.


About 138,000 students in the region will resume taking the subway, buying coffees, having lunch, and working part-time jobs around the city.

There are more than 138,000 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in Boston-area colleges and universities, according to the Boston Planning and Development Agency. That number doesn’t include two community colleges and their 16,000 students in the city.

Northeastern University topped the list in 2016 at almost 33,000 students. BU came in second at nearly 28,000 students, and Boston College was a distant third at close to 14,000 students, according to the city.

More than 136,000 students will be moving in around the first weekend of September.

This means traffic, crowds, and moving trucks galore. About 43 percent of the students lived in Boston in 2016. They include 35,000 living on campus and almost 44,000 off campus.

U-Haul truck rentals will fly in and out of the lot.

As many as 2,000 U-Haul trucks will hit the road during Labor Day weekend, some with multiple trips a day, according to the U-Haul headquarters.

There are about six U-Haul distributors in Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, Roxbury, and Medford.


“Repeat after us: You cannot drive a moving truck on Storrow Drive.”

Internet users coined the term “Storrowed” after the reliable number of box trucks that end up lodged under the Storrow Drive overpass. From September 2017 to August 2018, the Globe reported at least four oversized trucks crashing into the overpass.

The city of Boston sent out a tongue-in-cheek tweet just before move-in weekend last year: “Repeat after us: you cannot drive a moving truck on Storrow Drive. You cannot drive a moving truck on Storrow Drive . . . #BostonMoveIn.”

Morgan Hughes can be reached at