Chelsea is a city in Suffolk County, Massachusetts, United States, directly across the Mystic River from the city of Boston. As of 2013, Chelsea had an estimated population of 36,828. It is also the second most densely populated city in Massachusetts behind Somerville. With a total area of just 2.21 square miles, Chelsea is the smallest city in Massachusetts in terms of total area.
Chelsea is a diverse, working-class community that contains a high level of industrial activity. It is one of only three Massachusetts cities in which the majority of the population identifies as Hispanic or Latino, alongside Lawrence and Holyoke. After flirting with bankruptcy in the 1990s, the once-struggling industrial city has reversed a prolonged decline and in recent years has enjoyed sustained economic growth. Thanks to its relative affordability and close proximity to Boston, Chelsea has added more than 1,200 homes since 2005, mostly loft-style apartments and condominiums suitable for small families or young professionals. There has also been significant office, retail and restaurant development throughout the city.
Located on a small peninsula in Boston Harbor covering a mere 2.21 square miles (6 km²), Chelsea is the smallest city by area in Massachusetts. Chelsea is bordered on three sides by water, giving the city a unique character. The Mystic River borders Chelsea on the southwest, the Chelsea Creek and Mill Creek and the Island End River on the west. The topography of Chelsea consists primarily of coastal lowlands, punctuated by four drumlins formed during the last Ice Age. These drumlins are located in the southwest (Admirals Hill), southeast (Mount Bellingham), northeast (Powderhorn Hill) and northwest (Mount Washington). A smaller drumlin (Mill Hill) is located on the east side of Chelsea, adjacent to Mill Creek. This sloped and hilly landscape helps to divide the city into discernible neighborhoods, each with its own character, thereby giving the city a manageable sense of scale and orientation.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 35,177 people, 11,888 households, and 7,614 families residing in the city. The population density was 16,036.8 people per square mile (6,184.7/km²), placing it among the highest in population density among U.S. cities. There were 12,337 housing units at an average density of 5,639.9 per square mile (2,175.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 47.8% White, 8.5% Black or African American, 3.1% Asian, 1.1% Native American, 0.09% Pacific Islander, 33.6% from other races, and 5.9% were multiracial. In addition, 62.1% of residents identified as Hispanic or Latino (of any race), which includes 18.2% Salvadoran, 12.7% Puerto Rican, 8.4% Honduran, 7.3% Guatemalan, 2.8% Mexican, 2.2% Dominican, 0.5% Cuban, 0.5% Costa Rican, 0.4% Nicaraguan, 0.4% Panamanian, 1.4% other Central American countries, 2.5% other South American countries, 5.3% other Hispanic/Latino.
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