Instead of dividing the population into two or three income brackets, then, this report explores a changing Cambridge through quintiles, or five equal shares of the total number of households, to better capture the diversity of the city’s approximately 118,000 residents. For a better understanding of the city’s households, the quintile data excludes students living in dormitories and others living in institutional settings. The report divides the remaining roughly 100,000 people into five groups by income, with each quintile representing about 20,000 people.
This chapter provides a profile of Cambridge’s quintiles in 2018 across a broad set of demographic, housing, and economic characteristics, and compares them to the quintiles of roughly a decade ago. In reading these profiles, it is important to note that the data do not capture the trajectories of individual people or families over the past 10 years; rather, they provide snapshots of Cambridge at distinct points in time. The goal is to understand which groups have lost and which have gained, as well as how equity in Cambridge has changed during this boom period of innovation and growth.