How Far Does the Average Bostonian Walk?

We compiled data from fitness trackers to see if Bostonians are getting their steps.

Charles River. Wikimedia Commons.

Charles River photo via Wikimedia Commons

Boston has a lot of nicknames: Beantown, the Hub, America’s Walking City. The last is perhaps our favorite, but is it deserved?

Since we’re living in the age of fitness trackers, it’s actually not too hard to find out. By averaging data from Jawbone and Withings, we found that the typical Bostonian walks about 8,090 steps per day. A mile is about 2,000 steps, so that works out to roughly four miles.

Here’s a snapshot at some company-specific data:

  • Jawbone reports that the average step count for users in Boston is 9,214 steps, with an average of 9,197 steps for women and 9,256 for men. The only city with a higher step average than Boston is New York, at 9,799 steps.
  • Fitbit lists similar data on its website. It says that Boston is the American city with the second highest step count, behind New York. Our harsh winters don’t do us any favors, though. Fitbit reports that Massachusetts residents walk an average of 7,477 steps in the winter, down from 8,633 in the summer.
  • Withings, a wearables company with offices in Cambridge, reports an average of 6,967 steps a day for men and women of all ages. The highest average steppers were women and men aged 20-29, with 8,268 daily steps for women and 7,925 daily steps for men.
  • Other popular fitness trackers, including Apple Watch, Garmin, and Samsung, did not have data to provide.

Four miles a day isn’t too shabby, but it still leaves us a little shy of the recommended 10,000 steps, approximately five miles. If you’re looking for a way to bump up your daily step count, here are some routes to check out before winter is upon us:

  • Boston Harborwalk: Thirty-eight of the planned 47 miles of this course have been completed, and it will eventually stretch from Dorchester to East Boston. If you’re located downtown, check out the portion that hugs the waterfront from the Theater District to the North End.
  • Emerald Necklace: This seven-mile network of green space includes the Boston Common, the Public Garden, the Commonwealth Avenue Mall, the Back Bay Fens, the Riverway, Olmstead Park, Jamaica Pond, the Arnold Arboretum, and Franklin Park.
  • Freedom Trail: Sure, it’s touristy. But this two-and-a-half mile trail is a dream for fit history buffs. See the Bunker Hill Monument, visit the site of the Boston Massacre, and take a trip to Old North Church.