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Recent Rapid Population Growth in Massachusetts to Continue

HADLEY — Newly updated population projections by the UMass Donahue Institute say recent growth in the state’s population will be sustained through 2015, with the rate then slowing through 2035.

The newly released report, “Long-term Population Projections for Massachusetts Regions and Municipalities,” was developed by researchers at the UMass Donahue Institute’s (UMDI) Population Estimates Program and Dr. Henry Renski, associate professor of Regional Planning and director for the UMass Center for Economic Development at UMass Amherst. It provides detailed projections, or expected populations, at five-year intervals through 2035 by age and sex for all Massachusetts cities and towns and eight distinct Massachusetts regions. This 2015 series updates the last set released by UMDI in 2013.

The study, produced with support from Mass. Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin, forecasts 11.8% growth in state’s population from 2010 to 2035, with population increasing by 771,840 over the 25-year term to a new total of 7,319,469.

“Massachusetts has been growing very rapidly in the past few years”, said Susan Strate, Population Estimates Program manager. “It’s been growing more than twice as fast as the Northeast average, and twice as fast as it had between Census 2000 and 2010 on average. The new projections pick up on this recent, rapid growth before the natural forces of an aging population eventually start to slow things down.” Among the study’s most significant findings:

• The population aged 65 and over will almost double in 25 years, increasing from 902,724 in 2010 to 1,679,917 by 2035 — changing from 14% of the state’s total population to 23% by 2035.

• At the opposite end, the population aged 19 and under is expected to decrease by 57,000 people, changing from 25% of the state population to just 21% by 2035.

• Some areas of the state — including the Greater Boston, MetroWest, and Central regions — are predicted to grow at rates well above the state average, while others, including regions in Western Mass., will experience only slow growth. The Cape Cod region is expected to lose resident population if recent trends in migration, fertility, and mortality continue.

This projection series picks up on the recent, rapid growth experienced in Massachusetts through 2014, estimated at 3% cumulatively since the 2010 Census and averaging 0.7%, or 46,492 persons per year, according to U.S. Census estimates. According to UMDI projections, growth will be sustained at this rate through 2015, adding about 245,000 persons in the first five-year period, and then gradually diminish over time, slowing to 0.2% annual growth from 2030 to 2035. By comparison, Massachusetts grew by 3.1% cumulatively in the 10 years from 2000 to 2010.

The UMDI is the public-service, outreach, and economic-development group of the UMass President’s Office. Established in 1971, the institute strives to connect the Commonwealth with the resources of the university, bridging theory and innovation with real-world public- and private-sector applications.

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