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 Department of Economic Research, which provides quarterly updates for job counts and monthly updates for unemployment.

What is the population of Cambridge?

The 2020 U. S. Census recorded 118,403 residents, a 12.6% increase from 2010. 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 2022 population estimate, current as of July 1, 2022, totaled 118,488.  The 2017 - 2021 American Community Survey provides a population estimate of 116,892.

How racially and ethnically diverse is Cambridge?

The 2020 U. S. Census found that 57.3% of Cambridge residents were White, 10.6% Black, 19.2% Asian or Pacific Islander, 3.4%% classified themselves as a member Some Other Race, and 9.2% identify with two or more races. Hispanics totaled 9.1% of the population. 55.4% of the total population was both White and Non-Hispanic. Among those under eighteen 42.0% were both White and Non-Hispanic.

The 2010 U. S. Census found that 66.1% of Cambridge residents identify as White, 10.7% as Black, 16.8% as Asian or Pacific islander and 6.4% identified as some other race or a member of two or more races. Hispanics total 9.5% of the population. 59.8% of the population identify as both White and Non-Hispanic. Among those under eighteen 46.3% are White Non-Hispanics.

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 many households reside in Cambridge?

The 2020 Census recorded 49,564 occupied housing units, which is equivalent to households. This is an increase of 12.6% from 2010. (Information about household characteristics will be forthcoming in 2023.) 

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 2017 - 2021 American Community Survey reported 47,777 households, including 19,584 family households or 41% of the total.


What is the average size of Cambridge households?

Results reported by the 2020 Census to date found that the average household size came to 2.19 persons.  This figure will be subject to revision by forthcoming 2020 Census data releases.

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 2017 - 2021 American Community Survey reports that the average household size was 2.09 persons and the average family size was 2.83 persons.

How many Cambridge residents reside in group quarters?

As of the 2020 Census, 16,550 residents reside in group quarters or 13.9% of the total population.  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 93% of those recorded in 2020, were college dormitory residents.

The 2022 Town Gown Reports filed by educational institutions in Cambridge reported 14,346 dormitory residents.  This number indicates a return to pre-pandemic conditions.

How densely populated in Cambridge?

According to the 2017-21 American Community Survey, Cambridge has a population density of 18,274 persons per square mile and 8,124 housing units per square mile. These figures are equivalent to 29 people and 13 housing units per acre.  As of 2021, Cambridge is the tenth most densely populated city in the United States.

How highly educated are Cambridge residents?

According to the 2017 - 2021 American Community Survey data on the level of education, 80.0% of the population over 25 has either a four year bachelor degree or a graduate degree, 9.4% has either an Associate degree or some college course work, 6.1% has a high school diploma and 4.4% does not have a high school diploma.

How many Cambridge residents are current college or graduate students?

According to the 2017 - 2021 American Community Survey, 28.5% of the population 18 or older is enrolled full-time or part-time in a college or graduate school degree program. 

The 2022 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 14,697 undergraduate students and 22,802 graduate students attending.  Of these, 12,110 undergraduates and 11,973 graduate students reside in Cambridge, either in institutional housing or off campus.  The number residing in Cambridge has been depressed due to the effects of the pandemic and is likely to rise substantially in the near future.

How many Cambridge residents were born in a foreign country?

According to the 2017 - 2021 American Community Survey, 29.1%% of Cambridge residents are foreign born and 11.6% are naturalized citizens. Cambridge has long served as a port of entry for immigrants from around the world.

What are the most common ancestries of Cambridge residents?

Major ancestry groups reported by the 2017 - 2021 American Community Survey include Irish (10.3%), German (7.9%), English (7.8%), Italian (7.4%), Sub-Saharan African (3.0%), American (2.8%), Polish (2.8%), French (2.5%), West Indian (2.4%),  Russian (2.3%), Arab (1.9%), Scottish (1.8%), and Portuguese (1.6%). 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 2017 - 2021 American Community Survey Public Use Microdata Sample include Spanish (5.8%), Chinese (4.6%), Haitian Kreyol (1.6%), Korean (1.4%), French (1.4%), Amharic (1.2%), Arabic (1.1%), German (1.1%), Hindi (1.1%), Portuguese (1.1%).

The Cambridge Public School Department reports that for the 2022 - 2023 school year over 100 students speak the following foreign languages at home: Spanish (6.0%), Amharic (3.9%), Arabic (2.3%), Bengali (2.2%), Chinese (1.9%), Haitian Kreyol (1.9%).

What is the median income of Cambridge residents?

According to the 2017 - 2021 American Community Survey, median family income totaled $147,492, up from $96,933 during 1999 and $84,602 during 1989 in inflation adjusted dollars. This represents an increase of 47% from 1999 and 60% from 1989 in inflation adjusted dollars. The City's mean, or average, family income totaled $204,661 for the same period.

The 2017 - 2021 American Community Survey indicates that the state median family income was $112,543 and the national median income was $85,028.

Cambridge median household incomes rose from $78,233 during 1999 in inflation adjusted dollars to $112,565 in 2017 - 2021, a 44% increase. In 1989 median household income stood at $70,111 in inflation adjusted dollars, indicating an increase of 60% since that time. The City's mean, or average, household income totaled $154,448 for the same period.

The 2017 - 2021 American Community Survey indicates that the state median household was $89.026 and the national median household income was $69,021.

All figures adjusted to the 2021 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 2022 Metropolitan Boston area median income for a family of four is $140,200 per year.

What is the poverty rate in Cambridge?

According to the 2017 - 2021  American Community Survey 12.3% of all persons and 7.4% of all families had incomes below the poverty line.  Among families, 12.6% of those with children under 18 and 38.9% of female headed families with children under 18 fell under the poverty line.  14.8% of all persons under 18 and 9.6% of all persons 65 or older fall under the poverty limit.

How many vehicles are registered in Cambridge?

According to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, as of January 1, 2023  44,345 vehicles were registered in Cambridge.  This includes 42,223 registered as for passenger use, a category that includes SUVs.  5,307 vehicles are either fully electric, plug-in electric, or hybrid.

How many housing units are found in Cambridge? How many are affordable?

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 57,894 housing units, current as of July 1, 2023. This figure includes development completed since 2020 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.

The Census Bureau recorded 53,907 housing units using a different definition while conducting the 2020 Census.

The American Community Survey, a Census Bureau Program, estimated 57,581 housing units during 2021 and 51,966 housing units during the five year period 2017 to 2021.

As of June 30, 2021, the City's affordable housing stock included 8,517 housing units of all types, including rental and homeownership units affordable at a variety of income levels, with long term or permanent restrictions to ensure affordability.  This represents 14.79% of the total housing stock recorded by the Community Development Department on that date.


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

As reported by the 2017 - 2021 American Community Survey, 66.6% of occupied units are rented and 33.4% are owner occupied (including owner occupied condominiums).

What is the mix of Cambridge residential building types?

According the Cambridge Community Development Department, as of June 30, 2022 single family dwellings accounted for 6.5% of housing units, two family buildings for 12.1%, three family buildings for 10.7%, four to six unit buildings for 8.8%, buildings with over six units up to 50 units 18.4% and buildings with 51 or units 43.5%. Condominiums, regardless of their building type, included for 26.9% of the housing stock. Units located in mixed use buildings were 13.1% of the stock.

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

The 2021 median market rate sales price of a single family home was $1,690,000, for a two family $1,500,000, and for a condominium $810,500.

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

According to data collected by an MAPC-led consortium, as of the first quarter of 2023, the monthly median asking rent for market rate Cambridge apartment was $2,550 for a one bedroom unit, $3.308 for a two bedroom unit and $4,100 for a three bedroom unit.

Note that estimated median rents are based on advertised costs; they may not reflect the actual rates paid for advertised units and do not include landlord givebacks. These rates also differ from median rents for the entire stock of Cambridge apartments, which includes many long term and subsidized tenants.

How many people work in Cambridge?

The Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance reported an average of 151,982 jobs in Cambridge during the fourth quarter of 2022. This figure includes only employees for whom the unemployment tax is paid; it does not include self-employed persons or sole proprietors.

The 2017 - 2021 American Community Survey reports that 137,701 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 both these figures represent persons who work in Cambridge, not employed City residents.

What are the predominant industries in Cambridge?

In the fourth quarter of 2022, according to the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance, 40.0% of employed persons in Cambridge worked in Professional and Technical Services.  Of those 26.5% work in Scientific Research and Development Services and 5.8% in Computer System Design.

Other major employers include 20.5% in Educational Services, 8.1% in Health Care and Social Assistance, 6.8% in Information Services, 5.4% in Accommodation and Food Services, 3.0% in Financial Activities including real estate, and 3.0% in Retail Trade.

How many business are located in Cambridge?

On average during the fourth quarter of 2022, according to the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance, 5,746 private business establishments paid unemployment tax for employees. This figure does not include self-employed persons. 

According to the 2017 - 2021 American Community Survey, 1,582 Cambridge residents are self-employed in an unincorporated business and 3,092 are self-employed in an incorporated business.

What is the average annual wage in Cambridge?

During the fourth quarter of 2022, according to the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance, the average annual wage  earned in Cambridge for a full time job was $153,504. 

The 2017 - 2021 American Community Survey reports that median earnings for a full-time worker totaled $86,336.

What are the predominant occupations of Cambridge residents?

According to the 2017 - 2021 American Community Survey, many Cambridge residents work in Computer, Engineering, and Science (25.2%), Education, Training and Library (16.8%), Management, Occupations (13.0%), Business and Financial Operations (9.3%), Service Occupations (6.6%), and Office and Administrative Support (5.5%). 

What is the unemployment rate of Cambridge residents?

During May 2023, according to the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance, the unemployment rate in Cambridge stood at 1.7% (not seasonally unadjusted).

What is the daytime population of Cambridge?

During 2022 the weekday daytime population of Cambridge was estimated to be 213,000people. This includes residents who either do not work or who work in Cambridge, persons who work here during the daytime and live elsewhere, and daytime college and graduate students who do not reside in Cambridge. This figure does not includes persons visiting Cambridge to conduct business or for recreation, nor does the number include persons who pass through Cambridge on the way to another destination.

For More Information

For more information about socioeconomic and demographic statistics about Cambridge, please contact Cliff Cook,, 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.

To find more data from the American Community Survey or the Decennial Census visit the U. S. Census Bureau's website.