UMass study predicts slowdown in Mass. population growth
A STUDY by the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute predicts that the population of Massachusetts will continue to grow over the 20-year period between 2010 and 2030, but growth will slow dramatically in the second half of that time period, due to an aging population and lower birth rates.
COURTESY UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS DONAHUE INSTITUTE
HADLEY, Mass. – A new study released Wednesday by the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute projects a 4.4 percent growth in the state’s population between 2010 and 2030.
The study, titled “Long-Term Population Projections for Massachusetts Regions and Municipalities,” predicts that the Bay State population will increase by 290,589 over the 20-year term, bringing the state’s total population to more than 6.8 million.
Most population growth will occur in the first 10 years, the study said, with 209,909 of the 290,589 population gain expected between 2010 and 2020, and 80,680 between 2020 and 2030. The study attributes the slowdown in growth to an aging population and lower birth rates.
“In both the United States and Massachusetts, the aging of the population will result in slower population growth in the decades to come,” the report said. “In Massachusetts the effect of this aging is even more pronounced, as the state is already older than the United States on average.”
The state’s population of residents aged 65 and older will grow from 14 percent in 2010 to 21 percent in 2030. Conversely, the 19 and under age group is expected to shrink from 25 percent of the state’s total population in 2010 to 22 percent in 2030.
“I am very gratified that the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute in conjunction with Henry Renski of UMass has developed these long-term projections for our Commonwealth and its municipalities,” said Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth William F. Galvin, who requested the report. “This data will be a critical base for thinking and planning by state and local officials as they look at where Massachusetts can be over the coming two decades.”
In addition to the statewide data, the Donahue Institute study also provided detailed breakdowns of Massachusetts population projections by region and municipality.
Southeastern Massachusetts – encompassing Plymouth and Bristol counties, as well as southeastern sections of Norfolk County – will see continued population growth over the 20 years, but the growth rate will gradually slow from an annualized rate of 0.3 percent to roughly 0.06 percent. By 2030, the southeast region will gain approximately 36,000 residents, bringing total population in the area to nearly 1.15 million compared with the 2010 total of 1.11 million.
“Population growth in the region will be driven largely by the immigration of persons in their 30s, and, with these young families, a fairly steady number of births,” the report stated. “However, increasing deaths with the aging in place of the sizable baby boom population will slowly chip away at the rate of population growth, eventually exceeding new births by 2020.”
Between 2005 and 2010, births outnumbered deaths in southeastern Massachusetts by 15,371, but between 2025 and 2030, the study projects that deaths will outnumber births by 7,515.
The Donahue Institute predicts that net domestic migration in and out of southeastern Massachusetts will shift from a net out-migration of 14,865 between 2005 and 2010 to a net in-migration of 466 between 2025 and 2030.
International immigration into southeastern Massachusetts, however, will slow from a net in-migration of 25,145 between 2005 and 2010 to a net in-migration of 22,547 between 2025 and 2030.