Census: JP population holds steady

David Taber

Jamaica Plain’s population is 37,468, according to 2010 US Census data released by the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) this week, a number roughly the same as in 2000.

About 53 percent of the neighborhood’s population identify as white; 25 percent as Hispanic or Latino; 13 percent as Black or African-American; 4 percent as Asian; and 2 percent identify as being two or more races.

About 200 JP residents identify as being from some other race or nationality; 80 identify as being American Indian or Alaska natives, and six are from the Pacific Islands, including Hawaii.

In 2001, the BRA used an incorrect map of JP and other neighborhoods to analyze census data. The Gazette conducted its own, more accurate analysis based on JP’s main 02130 ZIP code, but that it excluded Egleston Square and parts of the Woodbourne.

This year, the BRA is using accurate neighborhood maps and, BRA spokesperson Susan Elsbree told the Gazette, plans to soon offer custom data maps to residents on request.

While the comparison is imperfect, JP in 2000 and 2010 looks similar. In 2000, 36,923 people were living in 02130, 53 percent of them white; 25 percent Hispanic; 14 percent African-American; and 5 percent Asian.

The Gazette received an exclusive preview of the neighborhood’s population and racial makeup from the BRA on Monday, ahead of the BRA’s planned data release this week after the Gazette deadline.

A map showing demographic changes by census tract published by the New York Times shows southern JP and the areas along the Washington Street corridor heading into Egleston Square losing population, mostly from reductions in the African-American and Latino populations. Egleston and Jackson Squares, meanwhile, have grown, largely due to increases in the Hispanic population.

The Hyde Square area appears to have shrunk due to drops in the African-American and Hispanic populations, while central JP and the Jamaica Pond area appear to have grown slightly.

The population in the parks along the Jamaicaway appears to have grown enormously. That population of apparently homeless people rose by 1,540 percent, to 82 people, according to the New York Times.

In 2000, city officials complained that the federal census undercounted homeless people.

It appears that Boston has stepped up its own census game as well.

The BRA will offer census data in a variety of map forms, including an accurate map of JP.

And the BRA plans to offer a service where city residents can submit requests custom-made demographic analyses any geographic area.

“You can create your own neighborhood boundaries, if you want information for Pondside, Parkside or the Woodbourne neighborhood. People can send us the boundaries of what they are looking for” and the BRA’s global information systems (GIS) team will do the analysis, Elsbree said.

2010 census data—scheduled for full release this week—will be available based on the city’s neighborhood zoning map and the BRA’s own map of “planning districts,” as well as on the federal Census Bureau’s block group and tract demarcations, Elsbree said.

The planning district map had been the BRA’s only guide for census data analysis since 1970, but that map shows an inaccurate picture of Boston’s neighborhood boundaries. Mission Hill, the North End and Chinatown do not exist in that map, and it cuts Forest Hills, Woodbourne, Parkside and Brookside out of JP.

The Gazette first discovered and reported on the problems with the JP map after it incorrectly reported in 2001 that JP lost population and minorities between 1990 and 2000.

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