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Cambridge, Massachusetts

Cambridge is a city located in Middlesex County, Massachusetts and it is a part of greater Boston. It was named in honour of Cambridge, England, the town where its founding fathers had studied. Cambridge is perhaps most famous for three things: Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the NPR program Car Talk. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 101,355, though even more people commute into the city to work. It is the county seat of Middlesex County6.

The diversity of the population is striking -- from the most distinguished Harvard professor to the poorest immigrant from Latin America. This diversity contributes to the liberal atmosphere, and may be compared to Berkeley, California, in some respects. It is often referred to as "The People's Republic of Cambridge" by the political organizers who tend to congregate at the Red Line[?] T-Stop in Harvard Square[?].


Harvard Square May 2000

Cambridge has been called the city of Squares, most likely because most of its major intersections are known as Squares. (In the Greater Boston area, a "Square" is merely a major intersection. Very few squares have four sides. Both of these facts stem from the usually stated origin of squares. The traditional square is said to be the result of the arc swept out by timber brought through on roadways to market/port. Each of the Squares acts as something of a neighborhood center. These include:

- Kendall Square[?], formed by the junction of Broadway, Main Street, and Third Street. Just over the Longfellow Bridge[?] from Boston, at the eastern end of the MIT campus. Served by the MBTA red line subway. A flourishing biotech industry has grown up around here, in large part due to the entrepreneurial efforts of MIT students.

- Central Square[?], formed by the junction of Massachusetts Avenue, Prospect Street, and Western Avenue. This is perhaps the closest thing Cambridge has to a downtown, and is well-known for its wide variety of ethnic restaurants. Even as recently as the late 1990s it was rather run-down; it has become more gentrified in recent years. It is served by the MBTA red line subway.

- Harvard Square[?], formed by the junction of Mass. Avenue, Brattle Street, and JFK Street. This is the site of Harvard University, the oldest university in the United States. Like Central Square, Harvard Square has become increasingly gentrified in recent years. It includes many interesting stores, and has the highest concentration of bookstores[?] per square mile in the country. Served by the MBTA red line subway.

- Porter Square[?], about a mile up Mass. Ave from Harvard. Served by the MBTA red line subway.

- Inman Square[?], at the junction of Cambridge and Hampshire streets in East Cambridge.

- Lechmere Square[?], at the junction of Cambidge and First streets, adjacent to the Galleria shopping mall. Perhaps best known as the terminus of the MBTA Green Line subway.

Although one often sees references to the "Boston/Cambridge area" in print, Cambridge prefers to retain its own unique identity. This name is quite apt as there are a large number of jobs in Cambridge and parts of Cambridge are more urban than some parts of Boston.

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Geography Cambridge is located at 42°22'25" North, 71°6'38" West (42.373746, -71.110554)1.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 18.5 km² (7.1 mi²). 16.7 km² (6.4 mi²) of it is land and 1.8 km² (0.7 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 9.82% water.

Law and Government Cambridge has a 9-member City Council, and a 9-member School Committee. The councillors and school committee members are elected every two years using the single transferable vote system of proportional representation. The mayor is elected by the city councillors, from amongst themselves. The mayor also sits on the School Committee.

Demographics As of the census2 of 2000, there are 101,355 people, 42,615 households, and 17,599 families residing in the city. The population density is 6,086.1/km² (15,766.1/mi²). There are 44,725 housing units at an average density of 2,685.6/km² (6,957.1/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 68.10% White, 11.92% African American, 0.29% Native American, 11.88% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 3.19% from other races, and 4.56% from two or more races. 7.36% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 42,615 households out of which 17.6% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 29.1% are married couples living together, 9.7% have a female householder with no husband present, and 58.7% are non-families. 41.4% of all households are made up of individuals and 9.2% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.03 and the average family size is 2.83.

In the city the population is spread out with 13.3% under the age of 18, 21.2% from 18 to 24, 38.6% from 25 to 44, 17.8% from 45 to 64, and 9.2% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 30 years. For every 100 females there are 96.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 94.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $47,979, and the median income for a family is $59,423. Males have a median income of $43,825 versus $38,489 for females. The per capita income for the city is $31,156. 12.9% of the population and 8.7% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 15.1% are under the age of 18 and 12.9% are 65 or older.

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