Demographics and Statistics FAQ

The source for all the information found below is the U. S. Bureau of the Census, unless stated otherwise. Most basic population count data is from the 2010 U. S. Census. Measures of population characteristics come from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey program (ACS). ACS values come from the five year data set, the most recent being 2014-18, and are updated annually. Employment information from the Massachusetts Executive Office of  Labor and Workforce Development provides quarterly updates for job counts and monthly updates for unemployment.

What is the population of Cambridge?

The 2010 U.S. Census recorded 105,162 residents, a 3.8% increase from the 2000 U. S. Census.  The 2000 decennial census found that the population of Cambridge was 101,355.  The population of Cambridge in 1990 was 95,802, up from 95,322 in 1980 and down from the 1950 peak of 120,740.

The Census Bureau releases estimates of the population between decennial censuses. The 2019 population estimate, current as of July 1, 2018, totaled 118,977.  The 2014 - 2018 American Community Survey provides a population estimate of 115,665.

How many households reside in Cambridge?

The 2010 Census found 44,032 households in Cambridge, including 17,420 family households or 39.6% or the total. The 2000 U. S. Census recorded 42,615 households in Cambridge, including 17,595 families, 41.3% of the total.  The 1990 U. S. Census recorded 39,405 households in Cambridge, including 17,575 families, 44.6% of the total.

The 2014 - 2018 American Community Survey reported 46,184 households, including 19,988 family households or 43% of the total.

What is the average size of Cambridge households?

The average household size reported by the decennial census was 2.00 persons in 2010, 2.03 persons in 2000, and 2.08 persons in 1990.

The 2014 - 2018 American Community Survey reports that the average household size was 2.14 persons and the average family size was 2.80 persons.

How many Cambridge residents reside in group quarters?

As of the 2010 Census 17,102 Cambridge residents or 16.3% of the total, lived in group quarters. As of the 2000 Census 14,663 Cambridge residents, or 14.5%, lived in group quarters. Residents of group quarters include all persons residing in dormitories, hospitals, nursing homes, jails and group homes. All persons who do not reside in group quarters reside in households. The majority of group quarters residents, over 90% of those recorded in 2010, were college dormitory residents.

The 2019 Town Gown Reports filed by educational institutions in Cambridge reported 14,589 dormitory residents.

How densely populated in Cambridge?

In 2010 Cambridge had a population density of 16,469 persons per square mile and 7,406 housing units per square mile. These figures are equivalent to 26 people and 12 housing units per acre. According to the United States Census Bureau, as of the 2010 U. S. Census, Cambridge is the 10th densest incorporated city in the United States.

How highly educated are Cambridge residents?

According to the 2014 - 2018 American Community Survey data on the level of education, 77.4% of the population over 25 has either a four year bachelor degree or a graduate degree, 9.0% has either an Associate degree or some college course work, 8.7% has a high school diploma and 4.9% does not have a high school diploma.

How many Cambridge residents are current college or graduate students?

According to the 2014 - 2018 American Community Survey, 29.1% of the population 18 or older is enrolled full-time or part-time in a college or graduate school degree program. 

The 2019 Annual Town Gown Reports submitted by Harvard University, Hult International Business School, Lesley University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology indicate that these institutions have 14,357 undergraduate students and 21,497 graduate students attending.  Of these, 11,818 undergraduates and 11,629 graduate students reside in Cambridge, either in institutional housing or off campus.

How many Cambridge residents were born in a foreign country?

According to the 2014 - 2018 American Community Survey, 28.8%% of Cambridge residents are foreign born and 10.5% are naturalized citizens. Cambridge has long served as a port of entry for immigrants from around the world.

How racially diverse is Cambridge?

The 2014 - 2018 American Community Survey found that 67.0% of Cambridge residents identify as White, 11.0% as Black, 16.1% as Asian or Pacific islander and 6.0% identified as some other race or a member of two or more races. Hispanics total 9.2% of the population. 60.8% of the population identify as White and Non-Hispanic. Among those under eighteen 47.7% are White Non-Hispanic.

The 2010 U. S. Census found that 66.6% of Cambridge residents were White, 11.7% Black, 15.1% Asian or Pacific islander and 6.6% classified themselves as some other race or a member of two or more races. Hispanics totaled 7.6% of the population. 62.1% of the population was White and Non-Hispanic. Among those under eighteen 44.2% were White Non-Hispanic.

Sixty-eight percent of 2000 residents were White, 12% Black, 12% Asian or Pacific Islander, 3% described their race as "Other" and 5% selected two or more races. Seven percent of all residents were of Hispanic background. Sixty-five percent of 2000 residents were White non-Hispanic. Slightly less than 50% of residents under eighteen were White non-Hispanic.

Seventy-five percent of all 1990 residents were White; 14% Black, 8% Asian and 3% of other races, including American Indian. Seven percent of all residents were of Hispanic background. Seventy-two percent of 1990 residents were White non-Hispanic.

Hispanics can be members of any racial group and are measured separately from race.

How ethnically diverse is Cambridge?

Major ancestry groups reported by the 2014 - 2018 American Community Survey include Irish (10.7%), German (7.6%), English (7.6%), Italian (7.5%), SubSaharan African (3.4%), West Indian (3.4%), Polish (3.0%), French (2.6%), Russian (2.2%), Scottish (1.9%), and Portuguese (1.8%). Note that the Census allows people to claim more than one ancestry.

What languages, other than English, are most often spoken in Cambridge?

Major languages and language groups other than English reported by the 2014 - 2018 American Community Survey Public Use Microdata Sample include Spanish (7.1%), Chinese (5.1%), Indian Languages (3.6%), French, including Haitian Kreyol, (3.2%), African Languages (2.2%), Korean (1.3%), Portuguese (1.2%), and German (1.2%).

The Cambridge Public School Department reports that for the 2019 - 2020 school year over 100 students speak the following foreign languages at home: Spanish (5.7%), Amharic (2.6%), Bengali (2.3%), Haitian Kreyol (2.2%),  Arabic (1.9%), and Chinese (1.9%).

What is the median income of Cambridge residents?

According to the 2014 - 2018 American Community Survey, median family income totaled $126,260, up from $89,839 in 1999 and $78,411 in 1989 in inflation adjusted dollars. This represents an increase of 51% from 1999 and 96% from 1989 in inflation adjusted dollars.

The 2014 - 2018 American Community Survey indicates that the state median family income was $98,625 and the national median income was $76,965.

Cambridge median household incomes rose from $ in 1999 in inflation adjusted dollars to $95,404 in 2014 - 2018, a 32% increase. In 1989 median household income stood at $64,980 in inflation adjusted dollars, indicating an increase of 47%.

The 2018 - 2018 American Community Survey indicates that the state median household was $77,378 and the national median household income was $60,293.

All figures adjusted to the 2018 level using the change in the Research Series Consumer Price Index for all urban wage earners (CPI-U-RS).

The U. S. Department of Housing & Urban Development estimates that the 2020 Metropolitan Boston area median income for a family of four is $119,000 per year.

What is the poverty rate in Cambridge?

According to the 2014 - 2018 American Community Survey 13.2% of all persons and 7.4% of all families had incomes below the poverty line. Among families, 10.9% of those with children under 18 and 29.5% of female headed families with children under 18 fell under the poverty line.

How many housing units are found in Cambridge?

The Census Bureau recorded 47,291 housing units while conducting the 2010 Census.

Using information compiled from the Cambridge Assessing database, Inspectional Services Department building permits, Planning Board submittals, and university housing sources, the Community Development Department tallies 54,988 housing units, current as of July 1, 2019. This figure includes development since 2010 and units currently under construction. In addition, the total includes all graduate student apartment-style housing owned by universities, whether or not the units are tax exempt or counted as housing units by the U. S. Census Bureau.

How many Cambridge units are rented and how many are owner occupied?

As reported by the 2014 - 2018 American Community Survey, 64.2% of occupied units are rented and 35.8% are owner occupied (including owner occupied condominiums). Approximately 14.8% of the entire housing stock has either permanent or long term affordability restrictions.

What is the mix of Cambridge residential building types?

According the Cambridge Community Development Department, in 2019 single family dwellings accounted for 6.9% of housing units, two family buildings for 12.7%, three family buildings for 11.3%, four to six unit buildings for 9.2%, buildings with over six units up to 50 units 19.0% and buildings with 51 or units 40.9%. Condominiums, regardless of their building type, included for 27.5% of the housing stock. Units located in mixed use buildings were 11.8% of the stock.

How much does it cost to buy a home in Cambridge?

The 2018 median market rate sales price of a single family home was $1,377,500, for a two family $1,500,000, and for a condominium $767.500.

How much does it cost to rent an apartment in Cambridge?

According to Zillow Research Data, as of January 2020, the monthly median asking rent for market rate Cambridge apartment was $2,550 for a one bedroom unit, $3,100 for a two bedroom unit and $3,500 for a three bedroom unit. Note that these are Zillow's estimated median rents developed using a proprietary formula, they may not reflect the actual rates paid for units surveyed and do not include landlord givebacks. These rates also do not reflect median charges for the entire population of Cambridge apartments, including long term and subsidized tenants.

How many people work in Cambridge?

The Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development reported an average of 136,025 jobs in Cambridge during the second quarter of 2019. This figure includes only employees for whom the unemployment tax is paid; it does not include self-employed persons or sole proprietors.

The 2014 - 2018 American Community Survey reports that 146,916 persons worked in Cambridge. The ACS figure includes all those employed in the city, including the self-employed, sole proprietors, and other categories of workers who are ineligible for unemployment compensation (Note that these figures represent persons who work in Cambridge, not employed City residents).

What are the predominant industries in Cambridge?

In the second quarter of 2019, according to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, 34.3% of employed persons in Cambridge worked in Professional and Technical Services, 23.0% in Educational Services, 8.3% in Health Care and Social Assistance, 7.4% in Accommodation and Food Services, 5.2% in Information Services, and 3.8% in Retail Trade.

How many business are located in Cambridge?

On average during the second quarter of 2019, according to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, 5,177 private business establishments paid unemployment tax for employees. This figure does not include self-employed persons. 

According to the 2014 - 2018 American Community Survey, 3,199 Cambridge residents are self-employed in an unincorporated business and 1,632 are self-employed in an incorporated business.

What is the average annual wage in Cambridge?

During the second quarter of 2019, according to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, the average annual wage earned in Cambridge was $125,112. 

The 2014 - 2018 American Community Survey reports that median earnings for a full-time worker totaled $75,504 and the mean earnings totaled $101,193. 

What are the predominant occupations of Cambridge residents?

According to the 2013 - 2017 American Community Survey, many Cambridge residents work in Computer, Engineering, and Science Occupations (21.2%), Education, Training and Library (15.9%), Management Occupations (13.2%), Service Occupations (8.5%), Office and Administrative Support (8.7%), and Business and Financial Operations (8.0%).

What is the unemployment rate of Cambridge residents?

During February 2020, according to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, the unemployment rate in Cambridge stood at 1.8% (unadjusted). Note that this rate was calculated prior to layoffs associated with Covid-19.

For up to date unemployment information, visit the Labor Force and Unemployment Rates page on the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development website.

For More Information

For more information about socioeconomic and demographic statistics about Cambridge, please contact Cliff Cook, ccook@cambridgema.gov, Senior Planning Information Manager, at 617/349-4656.

Where should I go to find more data or create my own maps?

Visit Other Data Sources or Mapping Tools for more information about how to conduct your own analysis. 

For mapping data for use with GIS software visit the City's GIS Data page.