Cambridge, Massachusetts

Map showing the original boundaries of Cambridge and other Massachusetts cities and towns

As industry in New England began to decline during the Great Depression and after World War II, Cambridge lost much of its industrial base. It also began to become an intellectual, rather than an industrial, center. Harvard University had always been important as both a landowner and an institution, but it began to play a more dominant role in the city's life and culture. When Radcliffe College was established in 1879 the town became a mecca for some of the nation's most academically talented female students. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology's move from Boston in 1916 reinforced Cambridge's status as an intellectual center of the United States.

Cambridge's residential neighborhoods border but are not defined by the squares.

The Avon Hill sub-neighborhood consists of the higher elevations within the area bounded by Upland Road, Raymond Street, Linnaean Street and Massachusetts Avenue.

In 2010, there were 44,032 households, out of which 16.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 28.9% were married couples living together, 8.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 60.4% were non-families. 40.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.00 and the average family size was 2.76.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 13.3% of the population 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 were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30.5 years. For every 100 females, there were 96.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.7 males.

Despite intensive urbanization during the late 19th century and the 20th century, Cambridge has several historic buildings, including some from the 17th century. The city also has abundant contemporary architecture, largely built by Harvard and MIT.

Then from 1896 to 1924, Cambridge became something of a "swing" city with a slight Republican lean. GOP nominees carried the city in five of the eight presidential elections during that time frame, with five of the elections resulting in either a plurality or a margin of victory of fewer than ten points.

The mayor is elected by the city councilors from among themselves and serves as the chair of city council meetings. The mayor also sits on the school committee. The mayor is not the city's chief executive. Rather, the city manager, who is appointed by the city council, serves in that capacity.

Cambridge is perhaps best known as an academic and intellectual center. Its colleges and universities include:

At least 258 of the world's total 962 Nobel Prize winners have at some point in their careers been affiliated with universities in Cambridge.

The city's schools constitute the Cambridge Public School District. Schools include:

Cambridge is home to the following commercially licensed and student-run radio stations:

Cambridge has an irregular street network because many of the roads date from the colonial era. Contrary to popular belief, the road system did not evolve from longstanding cow-paths. Roads connected various village settlements with each other and nearby towns and were shaped by geographic features, most notably streams, hills, and swampy areas. Today, the major "squares" are typically connected by long, mostly straight roads, such as Massachusetts Avenue between Harvard Square and Central Square, or Hampshire Street between Kendall Square and Inman Square.

Further educational services are provided at the Cambridge Public Library. The large modern main building was built in 2009, and connects to the restored 1888 Richardson Romanesque building. It was founded as the private Cambridge Athenaeum in 1849 and was acquired by the city in 1858, and became the Dana Library. The 1888 building was a donation of Frederick H. Rindge.