Chelsea Hits 40,000 Residents in Census 2020 Unexpectedly

After a disappointing Census effort last year due to being hindered significantly by COVID-19 and a distrust among the populace of the federal government, the official numbers came out last week and Chelsea showed a surprising increase in its count – climbing above 40,000 residents for the first time in a long time.

While many would agree that in reality Chelsea is likely at about 55,000 residents, the numbers on paper were always quite low and the City is named a hard-to-count community by the Census officials.

In 2010, the City was profoundly disappointed when its numbers came back at 35,177 residents, a tremendous undercounting that caused the City to lose millions in federal formula-funded programs over the last 10 years. Last week, though, many said it was a pleasant surprise to see that Chelsea had registered 40,787 residents in the count, as some had said it looked like early on that the City may decrease in population from the 2010 number.

It was a growth of 5,610 people and one of the larger growth numbers statewide, even despite trying to count people in the ravages of COVID-19 in a city hit harder than most in America in 2020.

The 40,000 number was a key number for the purposes of federal funding formulas and also for the coming redistricting process to determine state representative, state senate and U.S. Congress seat geographies. Clearly, many in Chelsea have been talking over the last six months about trying to get an all-Chelsea seat like Everett has, though most likely Chelsea would need to add a piece of East Boston if that were to happen – maybe Eagle Hill area. Such a configuration would work as East Boston grew substantially in the Census 2020 figures, going from 40,508 in 2010 to 43,066 in 2020.

Chelsea was once again predominantly Hispanic, with 67 percent of the population counted as Hispanic, though that’s likely a gross undercounting despite being one of the largest population percentages of Hispanics in the state. Chelsea has been a predominately Hispanic community since the 2000 Census when they broke 50 percent in the count.

It was a similar story in surrounding cities, with Hispanic populations growing in Everett (28.3 percent) and Revere (33.6 percent).

The White alone population came in at 20.6 percent, and the Black population was at 6.4 percent. The Asian population was a 4 percent.

Interestingly, Chelsea’s number of two or more races was quite high, at 32.8 percent, and is likely reflective of the high Hispanic population – as well as a general trend nationwide for people choosing two or more races.

Not surprisingly, Chelsea’s foreign-born population was 45.4 percent, higher than most in the area. Other Census tidbits included:

•Chelsea’s owner-occupied housing unit count was 25.9 percent.

•The median value of owner-occupied housing units was $350,800.

•The average persons per household was 2.96, which was quite high, but not much different than Everett, which was 2.87 per unit.

•The mean commute time for Chelsea residents was 34 minutes.

•The percentage of the population living in poverty was 18.1 percent.

•The youth population in Chelsea was much larger than many places, with 34.7 percent of the population being 18 or under. By comparison, Everett was 28.3 percent and Boston was at 15 percent.

•Women made up 48.3 percent of the population.

The total U.S. population for 2020 was 331,449,281, and demographically nationwide the White alone population was on the decrease at 60.1 percent of the national population. The largest non-white group were Hispanics at 18.5 percent of the national population, with Black populations also on the decline at 13.4 percent nationally. Asians make up 5.9 percent of the total national population in 2020.

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