Study: Half of Boston Residents Earn Less than $35,000 a Year

A new report by the Boston Redevelopment Authority paints a grim picture.

The Boston Redevelopment Authority is set to release a new study on Tuesday showing that almost half of Boston residents earn less than $35,000 a year.

According to the Boston Globe, the report paints a grim picture for struggling Bostonians on the lower end of the income scale, whose wages have not risen in nearly three decades.

The study found that 9.4 percent of residents make between $25,000 and $34,999 a year while 18.5 percent of residents make between $10,000 and $24,999 a year. A whopping 20.8 percent of residents make less than $10,000 a year.

Even though the city continues to tout the high-paying jobs in the thriving financial and technology sectors, Boston is still struggling to close economic gaps created by race, class, and education. There are fewer and fewer decent paying job opportunities, particularly for those without a college degree.

The BRA found that nearly 40 percent of jobs in the area require applicants to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, even though the national average is below 27 percent. Occupations that don’t need a college degree are often in low-paying fields, which usually rely on part-time workers, meaning these employees are forced to work several jobs just to earn enough money to scrape by.

According to a study by the Brookings Institution, the Globe found that Boston has the highest rate of economic disparity out of America’s 100 largest cities. The top 5 percent of Boston residents made $266,000 or higher, which is 18 times more than households in the lower 20 percent.

  • Robert Hanley

    Boston has a large college student population. Many of these students have wealthy parents or are on scholarship. This throws off the above study calculation.

    • You Ain’t No Sanjaya

      I think the large immigrant population is contributing to high numbers at the lower end of the spectrum. However, plenty of people who wait tables or tend bar -a BIG part of Bostons economy – probably only make slightly more than 35k and cant rely on minimum wage increases. People who work for tips are probably the most left behind, because a slow shift due to bad weather, etc., cuts into the average wage significantly.

  • Moxy

    @ Robert,
    Students are not considered permanent residents. I don’t think that they were counted

  • John Keith

    I don’t understand – did the “reporter” of this article actually read the BRA report or just rewrite what was in the Boston Globe article?

  • DaraCFromBos

    Is the implication here that those earning $35,000 or less are those without a college degree? Because I have a college degree. From Tufts. And the last three positions I was offered, from institutions within the city of Boston, Quincy, and Cambridge, paid salaries of $33,000, $34,000, and $35,000, respectively. The lack of college degrees is not the issue here (we live in the most over-educated city in the United States). Employers not paying liveable wages is.