Using one map, the city says Jamaica Plain's population dipped 2 percent since 2000. But by another map, the city says Jamaica Plain's population increased by nearly 5 percent.
It's all in how you draw the boundaries of "Jamaica Plain." The city has broken down the recently-released data from the 2010 Census in two main ways. The first is a mix of Zip Codes and zoning boundaries. The other is by Planning Districts.
But both sets of data show Jamaica Plain is becoming more White and Asian and less Black and Hispanic.
Let's start with that first geography, the mix of Zip Codes and zoning boundaries. We've asked the city to clarify where those boundaries are, as Patch could not find a useful map online at the Boston Redevelopment Authority, the agency that digests Census data for the city.
That first breakdown shows Jamaica Plain's population decreasing by 708 residents, from 38,176 in 2000 to 37,468 in 2010.
A racial and ethnic distribution of population [attached at right as a PDF] using the mix of Zip Code and zoning boundaries showed declines of 15 percent in the population of people who listed their race or ethicity as "African American alone" and a 10 percent drop among those who described themselves as "Hispanic or Latino alone."
However, the number of people who described themselves as "White alone" rose 5 percent and the those who described themselves as "Asian alone" rose 10 percent.
But while the ethnic and racial makeup of the neighborhood changed, overall population dipped just 2 percent.
Nathan Jackman, a resident of Jamaica Plain for three years, said he wasn't surprised that the raw population of JP hadn't changed much. “Unless you have open property,” he said, “I would suspect the numbers to remain relatively the same.”
The numbers didn't seem to jibe with the development one recent resident has been seeing.
“I'm surprised the number [of the overall population] hasn't changed much because there's been more development.” said Belinda Smith, who moved to JP two years ago, “maybe people have just been leaving higher density areas for other places.”
However, if you look at Jamaica Plain as defined by "Planning Districts," [attached at right as a PDF] the neighborhood's population rose 5 percent. The changes in ethnic breakdown also differed dramatically from those cited above. In terms of people who chose just one race or ethnicity to describe themselves, the white population rose 13 percent, the Black or African American population plummeted 16 percent and the Hispanic or Latino population dipped 2 percent.
Patch is working on reconciling these two sets of data and we hope to bring you a report soon that shows where the two maps differ. Since the city did not have a "Zip Code and zoning boundary" map available, that analysis could not be completed at this time.
Over 70 percent of Jamaica Plain residents sent their census forms back according to this interactive map put together by the Census Bureau. In some areas, almost 80 percent returned theirs. The national return rate was 74 percent, which matches the return rate from 2000.
The population for Boston increased by 28,453 people from 2000, putting the city's overall population at 617,549. According to the BRA, this marks the first time since 1970 that the population of Boston has exceeded 600,000 people. The population for all of Massachusetts increased by 198,532 people, or 3.1 percent.
The BRA will release more information comparing other categories of data from Census 2000 and Census 2010 within the next week. Look for more Census stories in JP Patch soon.Jamaica Plain in Census 2010 Zip Code/zoning map Planning District map Total population -1.9 percent +4.5 percent White (only) +5.4 percent +12.5 percent Black (only) -14.6 percent -16 percent Hispanic (only) -9.9 percent -2.2 percent Asian (only) +9.5 percent +26.7 percent Source: BRA analysis of Census data