About Brookline

Located four miles from downtown Boston, in Norfolk County, Brookline is one of the largest towns in New England. It is primarily a mature suburban, residential community with urban characteristics. The primary occupations of Brookline residents are management and professional, heavily concentrated in the fields of medicine and education.

The Town of Brookline continues to be a safe and highly desirable place to live, due to its proximity to job opportunities, excellent public transportation and school systems, and livable neighborhoods that balance green space, historic preservation, and outstanding commercial services. Surrounded by the City of Boston on three sides, Brookline consists of roughly six square miles of land.

The Town, which began as an agricultural community in the 17th century, became a streetcar suburb of Boston during the mid-19th century. By 1900, most of the remaining farmland had been divided into residential developments that were supported by the existing mass transit linkages. Brookline’s transformation from farm to suburb meant that, unlike many other Massachusetts towns, it never had significant industrial areas. Currently less than 6% of Town land is zoned for commercial use.

Some important facts about Brookline include:

  • Over the past several decades, Brookline’s population has remained fairly stable, fluctuating between 54,000 and 59,000 since 1950. The current population is approximately 59,000. (Source: 2011-2015 American Community Survey 5-year estimates)
  • 25.8% of Brookline’s residents are foreign born. Currently, 82.5% of this population aged
  • 5+ lived in a home where a language other than English was spoken and 32.1% stated that they speak English less than “very well”. (Source: American Community Survey (ACS) 2011-2015)
  • Brookline has continued to become more racially diverse over the past several decades with approximately 24.5% of the Town’s population being minority or mixed-race. The fastest growing minority group is Asian, at nearly 17.5% of the population – a much higher percentage than Boston and many other surrounding communities. (Source: ACS 2011- 2015)
  • Brookline median housing prices are among the highest in Massachusetts with a current median assessed value of over $1.5 million for a single family home and $662,650 for a condominium. Nearly 49% of all renters and 29% of homeowners pay more than 30% of their incomes toward housing costs. (Source: Brookline Assessor’s Office, ACS 2011-2015)
  • Form of Government: Representative Town Meeting (240 Elected Town Meeting Members and eight At-Large) with five-member Select Board who appoints a Town Administrator.