About Boston

Boston is a cosmopolitan city of contrasts: neat rows of red brick town houses and some of the nation's most revered landmark buildings stand side by side with high-tech towers. More than 70 universities and colleges make their home office and their influence is felt throughout the area. These institutions have extensive libraries, museums and special events. The Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Pops and the Boston Ballet are mainstays of the performing arts. Bostonians have four major-league sports teams: the Boston Red Sox, the Boston Celtics, the Boston Bruins and the New England Patriots. Fenway Park, one of America's oldest baseball parks, is located in the heart of the city and is only a mile from Brigham and Women's Hospital.

On Boston's Newbury Street, elegant boutiques, art galleries and coffee houses are located in 19th century town houses. Nearby, Copley Place and The Shops at the Prudential Center offer more than 200 enclosed shops and restaurants. The city has many other attractions. The New England Aquarium, the Museum of Science and its four-story Omnimax Theater, for example, are just the tip of the iceberg.

Cape Cod, only 60 miles from Boston, offers 27,000 acres of beaches. There are warm-water beaches, an abundance of seafood, summer theater and challenging golf courses. The Cape Cod National Seashore offers miles of bicycle and nature trails, long stretches of sandy beaches and desert-like sand dunes. The nearby islands of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard offer their own brand of sandy beaches, pine forests, rolling hills and moors and delightful towns. Each can be reached by air and by passenger and car ferries. Martha's Vineyard is a picturesque turn-of-the-century community and a year-round ferry port. Nantucket, where whaling ships made their home, is 30 miles off the coast of Cape Cod. It has elegant restaurants and antiques, crafts and specialty stores in addition to its relaxing beaches.

A quick drive west or north provides access to the Berkshires and the White Mountains. Abundant natural beauty is the setting for downhill skiing, cross country skiing, hiking, mountain biking and rock climbing. To many, Massachusetts is one of the most exciting places to live in America.


Boston’s Population

Boston has a population of over 655,000. Since 2000, Boston’s total population grew by almost 11% since the 2000 U.S. Census and has seen significant changes in its demographic makeup. In 2010, Boston ranked number one among the 25 largest cities in the U.S. in the percentage of the total population between the ages of 20-34. Boston is also the home of a well-educated workforce with nearly forty three percent of Boston residents have completed at least a bachelor’s degree.

Other significant changes include a city that has become more racially and ethnically diverse over the past several decades. By 2000 more than 50 percent of Boston residents were non-White and the city became a “majority-minority” city (See Chart 2 below from the Boston Redevelopment Authority). Today 47 percent of Boston residents are White, 22.3 percent are Black/African American, 17.5 percent are Hispanic/Latino and 8.8 percent are Asian. Approximately 27 percent of Boston residents are foreign-born and Bostonians speak over 140 languages and only 66 percent of households purely speak English. Most spoken languages are Spanish, Haitian Creole, Chinese, Portuguese, Cape Verdean Creole and Vietnamese.

Of the 25 most populous U.S. cities in the United States, Boston has the 6th most foreign-born residents, though it only ranks 21st in overall population, demonstrating its growing attractiveness to diverse communities.


BWH's Patient Population

BWH has a long-standing commitment to improving the health status of Boston residents, with a focus on Boston neighborhoods with disproportionately poor health and social indicators. BWH is located in the center of racially and ethnically diverse neighborhoods of Boston and the BWH clinical services reflect these communities. In 2013, twenty five percent of the inpatient population at BWH was non-White. Additionally, nine percent of both the inpatient and outpatient population identified a language other than English as their primary language.

The two health centers licensed by Brigham and Women's Hospital, Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center and Brookside Community Health Center are located in Jamaica Plain, one of Boston’s most diverse neighborhoods. Over 20 percent of the residents of Jamaica Plain speak Spanish at home. The patient population of these community health centers is quite diverse, both ethnically and economically.


MGH's Patient Population

MGH is committed to the community. The MGH mission includes improving the health and wellbeing of the diverse communities we serve. MGH has recently been awarded several esteemed community service honors in healthcare, including the 2015 Foster G.McGaw Prize for Excellence in Community Service, and the 2011 Association of American Medical Colleges Spencer Foreman Award for Outstanding Community Service. Residents have many opportunities to work closely with the Center for Community Health Improvement and serve as mentors for underserved and underrepresented youth interested in science and health careers and as consultants at community health fairs. Mass General’s Disparities Solution Center (DSC) is an international leader in promoting equitable care; the MGH Annual Report on Equity in Healthcare Quality monitors several key components of quality by race, ethnicity and language and was developed in response to the IOM report “Crossing the Quality Chasm”.

MGH cares for a diverse population:

  • 14% of MGH’s inpatients and 23% of our outpatients are Latino or African American.
  • In FY 2014, MGH Interpreter Services provided a total of 133,950 interpretations in 148 different languages, including American Sign Language (ASL).
  • In FY 2015, our Chelsea CHC patient population is very diverse: 53% of patients are Latino, 9% are Black, and 38% indicate Spanish as their preferred language.
  • Our Chelsea, Charlestown and Revere CHCs support communities where 20% of the residents have incomes below the poverty level, 30% are foreign born and 40% speak languages other than English at home.
  • Since 2008, MGH has cared for patients from 151 countries, including 18 Latin American, 18 Caribbean and 33 African countries.

Resident Life