Population Gain

One of the most frustrating stories I encountered in my old life involved the allegation that Boston’s population was in a state of decline. Because the source for the stories was none other than the federal census, it was difficult to convince reporters the story had little merit. They say you’re not supposed to personalize things when you are a press secretary, but I did. I mean, the bloggers were ridiculing me. For examples see here, here and here.

Well, now comes The Boston Globe with the news that the Census has reversed its position. The Mayor and I were right. The bloggers and the Herald were wrong. Yvonne Abraham and Michael Levenson report that Boston’s population increased 7,500 between 2000 and 2005.

This is a story that just never made intuitive sense to me. When I was the press secretary, I sat in the back seat of the Mayor’s vehicle and drove to an exhausting array of ribbon cuttings, ground-breakings and welcome events for new residents. We’d drive through dense urban neighborhoods, bustling with activity, such as Fields Corner or Maverick Square. I remember Maverick Square in the late 1980s. That T stop was never as busy as it is today with throngs of New Bostonians from Central America. How could this city be losing population?I’d ask myself.

Plus, I learned to trust the Mayor. Nobody, I mean nobody, knows this city better. I once saw him contest a GPS system which told us to keep heading down Dot Ave. The Mayor insisted that we had to take a right. “It’s the Mayor versus Machine,” I quipped. Well, guess who was right? The Mayor.

Let me just say, with the new appointments of a police, fire, public works commissioners, press secretary, and others, the Mayor’s showing what a public servant with fire in his belly can do for this city. If anyone ever doubts his energy or desire to improve the city or work ethic, I’d refer them to ride in the backseat of his car for a while.


4 Responses to “Population Gain”

  1. Jay Meschino Says:


    One thought on the possible reason the population increased while the census bureau had it declining. Illegal aliens don’t answer census inquiries. The Hub Politics blog brings up all legitimate points. They may not fit this issue but someone on Beacon Hill should start to pay attention to what the voters want.

    My question is why do the voters in this state keep putting “Dems” in office? We need to get back to some level of balance in state politics. The governors office was the last “check” so to speak against the Democractic controlled state house and senate. Without that check we’re headed in the wrong direction.


  2. Wesley Eberle Says:


    I’m afraid you miss the point here. The Census Bureau’s earlier estimate was incorrect because they made an incomplete assessment of housing starts among other things, not because they failed to count immigrants living here without proper papers.

    Upon closer inspection, they revised the estimates. This is a common occurance in the imperfect science of population estimation and cities routinely ask the bureau to more closely examine available data when the given estimate seems contrary to other indicators.

    However, in a city that never seems to have the self confidence it should considering its standing among the great cities of the country and of the world, the estimates were taken to mean the sky was again falling on Boston.


  3. Wesley Eberle Says:

    Pardon me, “occurrence.”

  4. Jay Meschino Says:

    Hi Wes,

    I did not miss the point. I chose to respond with sarcasm.

    You make a good point though confidence is lacking. Why do we care if the population drifts up or down? If people want to leave so be it.

    My point was the larger issue of wasting resources on people who don’t belong. We shouldn’t be spending on housing, education, drivers liscenses, etc. for illegal aliens. We should be deporting them. What does it say about our views on law and society if we excuse their illegal entry into the country then reward them with “gifts” that other have to “work” for.


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