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Boston  is the capital and largest city of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the United States. Boston is also the seat of Suffolk County, although the county government was disbanded on July 1, 1999. The city proper covers 48 square miles (124 km2) with an estimated population of 667,137 in 2015, making it the largest city in New England and the 23rd largest city in the United States. The city is the economic and cultural anchor of a substantially larger metropolitan area called Greater Boston, home to 4.7 million people and the tenth-largest metropolitan statistical area in the country. Greater Boston as a commuting region is home to 8.1 million people, making it the sixth-largest combined statistical area in the United States.

One of the oldest cities in the United States, Boston was founded on the Shawmut Peninsula in 1630 by Puritan settlers from England. It was the scene of several key events of the American Revolution, such as the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, the Battle of Bunker Hill, and the Siege of Boston. Upon U.S. independence from Great Britain, the city continued to be an important port and manufacturing hub, as well as a center for education and culture. Through land reclamation and municipal annexation, Boston has expanded beyond the original peninsula. Its rich history attracts many tourists, with Faneuil Hall alone drawing over 20 million visitors per year. Boston’s many firsts include the United States’ first public school, Boston Latin School (1635), first subway system (1897), and first public park (1634).

The area’s many colleges and universities make Boston an international center of higher education, including law, medicine, engineering, and business, and the city is considered to be a world leader in innovation and entrepreneurship. Boston’s economic base also includes finance, professional and business services, biotechnology, information technology, and government activities. Households in the city claim the highest average rate of philanthropy in the United States; businesses and institutions rank among the top in the country for environmental sustainability and investment. The city has one of the highest costs of living in the United States, though it remains high on world livability rankings.

Population: 667,137 (2015)

language

66.6{496c227c661adb5911b0917ee6a09570ab4ca782e7861497df921eba0f734329} of Boston residents speak only English, 33.4{496c227c661adb5911b0917ee6a09570ab4ca782e7861497df921eba0f734329} speak another language. The most spoken languages include: Spanish, Haitian Creole, Chinese, Portuguese/Cape Verdean Creole, Vietnamese, and French.

Currency

Currency of Boston. The currency used across the country is the US dollar. Notes can be found in denominations of US$100, 50, 20, 10, 5 and 1 as well as some uncommon higher denominations, while coins are available in US$1 and 50, 25, 10, 5 and 1 cent.

Geography

Boston has an area of 89.6 square miles (232.1 km2)—48.4 square miles (125.4 km2) (54.0{496c227c661adb5911b0917ee6a09570ab4ca782e7861497df921eba0f734329}) of land and 41.2 square miles (106.7 km2) (46.0{496c227c661adb5911b0917ee6a09570ab4ca782e7861497df921eba0f734329}) of water. The city’s official elevation, as measured at Logan International Airport, is 19 ft (5.8 m) above sea level. The highest point in Boston is Bellevue Hill at 330 feet (100 m) above sea level, and the lowest point is at sea level. Situated onshore of the Atlantic Ocean, Boston is the only state capital in the contiguous United States with an oceanic coastline.

The geographical center of Boston is in Roxbury. Due north of the center we find the South End. This is not to be confused with South Boston which lies directly east from the South End. North of the South End is East Boston and southwest of East Boston is the North End.

Boston is surrounded by the “Greater Boston” region and is contiguously bordered by the cities and towns of Winthrop, Revere, Chelsea, Everett, Somerville, Cambridge, Newton, Brookline, Needham, Dedham, Canton, Milton, and Quincy. The Charles River separates Boston from Watertown and the majority of Cambridge, and the mass of Boston from its own Charlestown neighborhood. To the east lie Boston Harbor and the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area (which includes part of the city’s territory, specifically Calf Island, Gallops Island, Great Brewster Island, Green Island, Little Brewster Island, Little Calf Island, Long Island, Lovells Island, Middle Brewster Island, Nixes Mate, Outer Brewster Island, Rainsford Island, Shag Rocks, Spectacle Island, The Graves, and Thompson Island). The Neponset River forms the boundary between Boston’s southern neighborhoods and the city of Quincy and the town of Milton. The Mystic River separates Charlestown from Chelsea and Everett, and Chelsea Creek and Boston Harbor separate East Boston from Boston proper.

Climate

Under the Köppen climate classification, Boston has a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfa or Dfb) that borders a humid subtropical climate or a temperate oceanic climate (Köppen Cfa or Cfb) with some maritime influence.  Despite its climate, the city lies at the transition between USDA plant hardiness zones 6b (most of the city) and 7a (Downtown, South Boston, and East Boston neighborhoods). Summers are typically warm to hot, rainy, and humid, while winters oscillate between periods of cold rain and snow, with cold temperatures. Spring and fall are usually mild, with varying conditions dependent on wind direction and jet stream positioning. Prevailing wind patterns that blow offshore minimize the influence of the Atlantic Ocean.

The hottest month is July, with a mean temperature of 73.4 °F (23.0 °C). The coldest month is January, with a mean of 29.0 °F (−1.7 °C). Periods exceeding 90 °F (32 °C) in summer and below freezing in winter are not uncommon but rarely extended, with about 13 and 25 days per year seeing each, respectively. The most recent sub-0 °F (−18 °C) reading occurred on February 14, 2016, when the temperature dipped down to −9 °F (−23 °C), the coldest reading since 1957. In addition, several decades may pass between 100 °F (38 °C) readings, with the most recent such occurrence on July 22, 2011, when the temperature reached 103 °F (39 °C).[94] The city’s average window for freezing temperatures is November 9 through April 5.[94][c] Official temperature records have ranged from −18 °F (−28 °C) on February 9, 1934, up to 104 °F (40 °C) on July 4, 1911; the record cold daily maximum is 2 °F (−17 °C) on December 30, 1917, while, conversely, the record warm daily minimum is 83 °F (28 °C) on August 2, 1975.

Boston’s coastal location on the North Atlantic moderates its temperature, but makes the city very prone to Nor’easter weather systems that can produce much snow and rain.The city averages 43.8 inches (1,110 mm) of precipitation a year, with 43.8 inches (111 cm) of snowfall per season. Snowfall increases dramatically as one goes inland away from the city (especially north and west of the city)—away from the moderating influence of the ocean. Most snowfall occurs from December through March, as most years see no measurable snow in April and November, and snow is rare in May and October. There is also high year-to-year variability in snowfall; for instance, the winter of 2011–12 saw only 9.3 in (23.6 cm) of accumulating snow, but the previous winter, the corresponding figure was 81.0 in (2.06 m).

Fog is fairly common, particularly in spring and early summer, and the occasional tropical storm or hurricane can threaten the region, especially in late summer and early autumn. Due to its situation along the North Atlantic, the city often receives sea breezes, especially in the late spring, when water temperatures are still quite cold and temperatures at the coast can be more than 20 °F (11 °C) colder than a few miles inland, sometimes dropping by that amount near midday.[99][100] Thunderstorms occur from May to September, that are occasionally severe with large hail, damaging winds and heavy downpours. Although downtown Boston has never been struck by a violent tornado, the city itself has experienced many tornado warnings. Damaging storms are more common to areas north, west, and northwest of the city.Boston has a relatively sunny climate for a coastal city at its latitude, averaging over 2,600 hours of sunshine per annum.

Religion

According to a 2014 study by the Pew Research Center, 57{496c227c661adb5911b0917ee6a09570ab4ca782e7861497df921eba0f734329} of the population of the city identified themselves as Christians, with 25{496c227c661adb5911b0917ee6a09570ab4ca782e7861497df921eba0f734329} professing attendance at a variety of churches that could be considered Protestant, and 29{496c227c661adb5911b0917ee6a09570ab4ca782e7861497df921eba0f734329} professing Roman Catholic beliefs. while 33{496c227c661adb5911b0917ee6a09570ab4ca782e7861497df921eba0f734329} claim no religious affiliation. The same study says that other religions (including Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, and Hinduism) collectively make up about 10{496c227c661adb5911b0917ee6a09570ab4ca782e7861497df921eba0f734329} of the population.

As of 2010 the Catholic Church had the highest number of adherents as a single denomination in the Boston-Cambridge-Newton Metro area, with more than two million members and 339 churches, followed by the Episcopal Church with 58,000 adherents in 160 churches. The United Church of Christ had 55,000 members and 213 churches.The UCC is the successor of the city’s Puritan religious traditions. Old South Church in Boston is one of the oldest congregations in the United States. It was organized in 1669 by dissenters from the First Church in Boston (1630). Notable past members include Samuel Adams, William Dawes, Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Sewall, and Phillis Wheatley. In 1773, Adams gave the signals from the Old South Meeting House that started the Boston Tea Party.

The city has a sizable Jewish population with an estimated 25,000 Jews within the city and 227,000 within the Boston metro area; the number of congregations in Boston is estimated at 22. The adjacent communities of Brookline and Newton are both approximately one-third Jewish.

Economy

A global city, Boston is placed among the top 30 most economically powerful cities in the world. Encompassing $363 billion, the Greater Boston metropolitan area has the sixth-largest economy in the country and 12th-largest in the world.

Boston’s colleges and universities exert a significant impact on the regional economy. Boston attracts more than 350,000 college students from around the world, who contribute more than $4.8 billion annually to the city’s economy. The area’s schools are major employers and attract industries to the city and surrounding region. The city is home to a number of technology companies and is a hub for biotechnology, with the Milken Institute rating Boston as the top life sciences cluster in the country.  Boston receives the highest absolute amount of annual funding from the National Institutes of Health of all cities in the United States.

The city is considered highly innovative for a variety of reasons, including the presence of academia, access to venture capital, and the presence of many high-tech companies. The Route 128 corridor and Greater Boston continue to be a major center for venture capital investment, and high technology remains an important sector.

Tourism also composes a large part of Boston’s economy, with 21.2 million domestic and international visitors spending $8.3 billion in 2011; excluding visitors from Canada and Mexico, over 1.4 million international tourists visited Boston in 2014, with those from China and the United Kingdom leading the list. Boston’s status as a state capital as well as the regional home of federal agencies has rendered law and government to be another major component of the city’s economy. The city is a major seaport along the United States’ East Coast and the oldest continuously operated industrial and fishing port in the Western Hemisphere.

Other important industries are financial services, especially mutual funds and insurance. Boston-based Fidelity Investments helped popularize the mutual fund in the 1980s and has made Boston one of the top financial cities in the United States. The city is home to the headquarters of Santander Bank, and Boston is a center for venture capital firms. State Street Corporation, which specializes in asset management and custody services, is based in the city. Boston is a printing and publishing center—Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is headquartered within the city, along with Bedford-St. Martin’s Press and Beacon Press. Pearson PLC publishing units also employ several hundred people in Boston. The city is home to three major convention centers—the Hynes Convention Center in the Back Bay, and the Seaport World Trade Center and Boston Convention and Exhibition Center on the South Boston waterfront. The General Electric Corporation announced in January 2016 its decision to move the company’s global headquarters to the Seaport District in Boston, from Fairfield, Connecticut, citing factors including Boston’s preeminence in the realm of higher education.

Healthcare

The Longwood Medical and Academic Area, adjacent to the Fenway district, is home to a large number of medical and research facilities, including Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Children’s Hospital Boston, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Joslin Diabetes Center, and the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. Prominent medical facilities, including Massachusetts General Hospital, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital are located in the Beacon Hill area. St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center is in Brighton Center of the city’s Brighton neighborhood. New England Baptist Hospital is in Mission Hill. The city has Veterans Affairs medical centers in the Jamaica Plain and West Roxbury neighborhoods. The Boston Public Health Commission, an agency of the Massachusetts government, oversees health concerns for city residents. Boston EMS provides pre-hospital emergency medical services to residents and visitors.

Many of Boston’s medical facilities are associated with universities. The facilities in the Longwood Medical and Academic Area and in Massachusetts General Hospital are affiliated with Harvard Medical School. Tufts Medical Center (formerly Tufts-New England Medical Center), located in the southern portion of the Chinatown neighborhood, is affiliated with Tufts University School of Medicine. Boston Medical Center, located in the South End neighborhood, is the primary teaching facility for the Boston University School of Medicine as well as the largest trauma center in the Boston area; it was formed by the merger of Boston University Hospital and Boston City Hospital, which was the first municipal hospital in the United States.

Transportation

Logan Airport, located in East Boston and operated by the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport), is Boston’s principal airport. Nearby general aviation airports are Beverly Municipal Airport to the north, Hanscom Field to the west, and Norwood Memorial Airport to the south. Massport also operates several major facilities within the Port of Boston, including a cruise ship terminal and facilities to handle bulk and container cargo in South Boston, and other facilities in Charlestown and East Boston.

Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge crosses the Charles River from Downtown Boston

Downtown Boston’s streets grew organically, so they do not form a planned grid, unlike those in later-developed Back Bay, East Boston, the South End, and South Boston. Boston is the eastern terminus of I-90, which in Massachusetts runs along the Massachusetts Turnpike. The elevated portion of the Central Artery, which carried most of the through traffic in downtown Boston, was replaced with the O’Neill Tunnel during the Big Dig, substantially completed in early 2006.

With nearly a third of Bostonians using public transit for their commute to work, Boston has the fifth-highest rate of public transit usage in the country. Boston’s subway system, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA—known as the “T”) operates the oldest underground rapid transit system in the Americas, and is the fourth-busiest rapid transit system in the country,[18] with 65.5 miles (105 km) of track on four lines. The MBTA also operates busy bus and commuter rail networks, and water shuttles.

Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor and Chicago lines originate at South Station, which serves as a major intermodal transportation hub, and stop at Back Bay. Fast Northeast Corridor trains, which serve New York City, Washington, D.C., and points in between, also stop at Route 128 Station in the southwestern suburbs of Boston. Meanwhile, Amtrak’s Downeaster service to Maine originates at North Station, despite the current lack of a dedicated passenger rail link between the two railhubs, other than the “T” subway lines.

Nicknamed “The Walking City”, Boston hosts more pedestrian commuters than do other comparably populated cities. Owing to factors such as the compactness of the city and large student population, 13 percent of the population commutes by foot, making it the highest percentage of pedestrian commuters in the country out of the major American cities. In 2011, Walk Score ranked Boston the third most walkable city in the United States. As of 2015, Walk Score still ranks Boston as the third most walkable US city, with a Walk Score of 80, a Transit Score of 75, and a Bike Score of 70.

Between 1999 and 2006, Bicycling magazine named Boston three times as one of the worst cities in the US for cycling; regardless, it has one of the highest rates of bicycle commuting.[260] In 2008, as a consequence of improvements made to bicycling conditions within the city, the same magazine put Boston on its “Five for the Future” list as a “Future Best City” for biking, and Boston’s bicycle commuting percentage increased from 1{496c227c661adb5911b0917ee6a09570ab4ca782e7861497df921eba0f734329} in 2000 to 2.1{496c227c661adb5911b0917ee6a09570ab4ca782e7861497df921eba0f734329} in 2009. The bikeshare program called Hubway launched in late July 2011, logging more than 140,000 rides before the close of its first season.The neighboring municipalities of Cambridge, Somerville, and Brookline joined the Hubway program in the summer of 2012. In 2016, there are 1,461 bikes and 158 docking stations across the city. PBSC Urban Solutions provides bicycles and technology for this bike-sharing system.

 


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