Where Are All the New Residents in Boston Moving From?

Boston, with its large number of universities, has a built-in population-growth engine. Young people move in and, if they like the area, put down roots for the long term.

In fact, the metro area added nearly 30,000 residents from 2015 to 2016, going from 4,766,755 to 4,794,447, according to the latest census figures. Not all of them are students, of course, but all those universities don’t hurt Boston’s growth, either.

The county where Boston proper is located, Suffolk County, grew even faster between 2015 and 2016, percentage wise. While the metro area grew just over half of one percent, Suffolk County grew .97 percent reaching a total of 784,230 residents.

Some of those new residents are new births and immigrants, but many of them are moving into Suffolk County from other places. Another census study, which covers five years (2011-2015), gives us a closer look at where exactly those new Bostonians are coming from.

It turns out that most of them are coming from nearby cities and states, and a fair share is coming from Los Angeles and Chicago. Fifty-two percent of movers to Boston are coming from elsewhere in Massachusetts, while 48 percent are coming from out of state.

A total of 59,683 people moved to Suffolk County between 2011 and 2015, with slightly more than half, 52 percent, coming from within Massachusetts. The rest, 48 percent, moved in from other states.

Below are rankings for the top five out-of-state counties of origin for movers to Suffolk County:

Movers outside of Massachusetts:

1. New York County, NY
2. Tie: Los Angeles County, CA and Providence County, RI
4. Fairfield County, CT (Bridgeport)
5. Cook County, IL (Chicago)

Movers from Massachusetts:

1. Middlesex County
2. Norfolk County
3. Essex County
4. Plymouth County
5. Worcester County

Above are the top places inside Massachusetts that people moved to Suffolk County from over the five-year period 2011-2015. Numbers represent the number of movers from that place during the period.

Elizabeth Whalen