Newton does not have a single town center, but is rather a patchwork of 13 "villages", many boasting small "downtown" areas of their own. The 13 villages are: Auburndale, Chestnut Hill, Newton Centre, Newton Corner, Newton Highlands, Newton Lower Falls, Newton Upper Falls (both on the Charles River, and both once small industrial sites), Newtonville, Nonantum (also called The Lake), Oak Hill, Thompsonville, Waban, and West Newton. Oak Hill Park is a place within the village of Oak Hill that itself is shown as a village on some city maps. Although most of the villages have a post office, they have no legal definition and no firmly defined borders. See The Thirteen Villages of Newton.
Newton was settled in 1630 as part of Cambridge. It was incorporated as a town known as Cambridge Village in 1688. It was renamed Newtown in 1691 and finally Newton in 1766. It became a city in 1873. Newton is known as The Garden City.
Newton is home to Boston College, located in the city's historic village of Chestnut Hill, and Boston College Law School, located on a separate campus between Newton Centre and Newton Corner. There are several other institutions of higher education in the city including Andover Newton Theological School, Lasell College, Hebrew College, and Mount Ida College.
The Newton Free Library possesses more than 500,000 volumes of print materials (2004), as well as art, both original and prints, sound recordings and videos: the largest collection in the Minuteman Library Network.
Each April, the Boston Marathon runs through the city from Wellesley onward to Boston. Heartbreak Hill rises just past Newton City Hall where residents and visitors line the race route on Commonwealth Avenue to cheer the runners.
As of the censusGR2 of 2000, there were 83,829 people, 31,201 households, and 20,499 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,793.2/km² (4,643.6/mi²). There were 32,112 housing units at an average density of 686.9/km² (1,778.8/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 88.07% White, 7.68% Asian, 1.97% African American, 0.07% Native American, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.71% from other races, and 1.46% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.52% of the population.
There were 31,201 households out of which 31.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.2% were married couples living together, 8.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.3% were non-families. 25.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.51 and the average family size was 3.04.
In the city the population was spread out with 21.2% under the age of 18, 10.3% from 18 to 24, 28.2% from 25 to 44, 25.2% from 45 to 64, and 15.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 86.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.7 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $86,052, and the median income for a family was $125,289. Males had a median income of $65,565 versus $46,885 for females. The per capita income for the city was $45,708. About 2.1% of families and 4.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.8% of those under age 18 and 5.0% of those age 65 or over.
Based on statistics reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Newton was the nation's safest city during 2003, 2004 and 2005, and the fourth safest city in the nation in 2006. The designation is based on crime statistics in six categories: murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, and auto theft.
Colleges and universities located in Newton include: