JP student population dips

Rebeca Oliveira

Jamaica Plain’s student population decreased 10 percent from last year, according to an annual census.

While 1,096 full-time undergrads and graduate students currently live in JP, last January JP had 1,219 full-time students living in the neighborhood.

In 2009, the student population was at least 1,053 and had been on the decline since 2007.

JP’s overall population increased slightly from the 2000 census, lowering the proportion of students in JP to 2.92 percent from last year’s 3.33 percent. That means about 1 in 34 JP residents is a student, though that number is likely to be significantly higher due to the census’s reporting methods.

The top five sources of students in JP are: Northeastern University (325); Boston University (120); New England Conservatory of Music (103); Massachusetts College of Art and Design (97); and Berklee College of Music (71). Students from at least 20 colleges live in the neighborhood.

The majority of JP’s students (603) are graduates; undergraduates total 493. Last year, JP had 734 graduate and 485 undergraduate students.

The neighborhood student population count is required under the University Accountability Ordinance written by City Councilor Mike Ross, who represents part of Hyde Square. It requires a census, self-reported by educational institutions, of all students living both on-campus and off-campus.

The student census is intended to shed light on the crowding of off-campus undergraduates into certain neighborhoods, especially Ross’s home Mission Hill neighborhood. Mission Hill, while about half the size of JP, is home to over 2,500 off-campus students, with just under 2,000 undergrads.

There are various quirks in the census that mean the actual student population is higher. The student census applies only to the 02130 ZIP code area, which excludes parts of Egleston Square and Woodbourne. The census also only reports the student population of private, Boston-based schools—which means UMass Boston is not included, nor are any of Harvard’s Cambridge-based schools.

Some schools that are exempt report voluntarily anyway. They include MassArt, which is a state school, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which is in Cambridge.

Showa Boston Institute for Language and Culture, a residential semester-abroad branch of Showa Women’s University in Japan, has the only on-campus student housing officially in JP. But it has never filed a student population report, and it is unclear whether the University Accountability Ordinance applies to it.

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