State-level Population Estimates for Massachusetts
The U.S. Census Bureau annually develops state-level population and components-of-change estimates. The latest vintage was released on December 30, 2019 for population as of July 1, 2019. According to the new release, the Massachusetts population increased by an estimated 9,868 persons from July 1, 2018 to July 1, 2019 to a new total of 6,892,503.
The sections below examine Massachusetts population change compared to other states and regions; change since 2000; components of population change, including births, deaths, and migration in the past year and since 2000; and how these components compare to other Northeast states and U.S. regions.
Latest State Estimate Summary
On December 30, 2019, the U.S. Census Bureau released population estimates and estimated components of change for the nation, states, and Puerto Rico for the years 2010-2019. For a summary and highlights of the 2019 estimates for Massachusetts, download the UMDI Summary Report.
Massachusetts ranks as the 15th most populous state in the U.S. with an estimated population of 6,892,503 as of July 1, 2019. From July 1, 2018 to July 1, 2019, the state population increased by an estimated 9,868 persons or 0.14%. This annual increase puts Massachusetts’ percentage growth ahead of the Northeast average of -0.11% and all other Northeast states except for Maine and New Hampshire, which also grew by less than half of a percent over the past year. In terms of population numbers, Massachusetts population increased more in the period than any other Northeast state.
At the national level, Massachusetts ranked 24th for annual population change this year, and ranked 35th in terms of annual percentage growth in the 2018 to 2019 period, down from 22nd last year. Since the last Census in April of 2010, the Massachusetts population has increased by 344,718 persons cumulatively, or 5.3%, compared to a 1.2% cumulative increase for the Northeast region and a 6.3% cumulative increase for the U.S. as a whole. Table 1 below shows both the numeric and percentage growth and rankings for the United States, U.S. regions, and the Northeast states including Massachusetts for the period April 1, 2010, July 1, 2018, and July 1, 2019.
Annual and Cumulative Estimates of Resident Population Change for the United States, Regions, and Northeast States and Rankings: July 1, 2018 to July 1, 2019 and April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2019
Massachusetts’ cumulative population increase of 5.3% since 2010 is somewhat behind the national 6.3% increase, and its single year percentage change of 0.14% is also below the national average of 0.48% annual change. However, Massachusetts continued to increase in population at a much faster rate than the Northeast average, which actually lost population from 2018 to 2019, changing by -0.11% - and was on par with the Midwest Region average of 0.14%. The Southern and Western regions meanwhile continue to lead the U.S. in terms of percentage growth, at 0.81% and 0.66%, respectively, over the last year (Figure 1).
The map below (Figure 2) clearly demonstrates that Massachusetts stands apart from the rest of the Northeastern and Midwestern states in terms of overall percentage growth since 2010, and even surpasses some states in the South and West. The single-year percent change map (Figure 3) for the most recent 2018-2019 period also puts Massachusetts ahead of all other Northeast States except New Hampshire and Maine.
Massachusetts has been growing twice as fast this decade compared to last. From 2001 to 2004, Massachusetts’ growth rates, along with the Northeast rates, were actually declining, and only turned around after 2005, due in part to a reversal of domestic out-migration. Starting in 2007, the Massachusetts annual growth rate overtook the Northeast rate, at 0.5% for Massachusetts compared to 0.3% for the Northeast for that year, and the state’s annual percentage growth has remained above the Northeast average since that time.
From Census 2000 to Census 2010, the average growth for Massachusetts was about 0.3% per year, with an average population increase of just 19,842 per year. Since the 2010 Census, Massachusetts has increased its population by an average of 37,267 persons per year, or 0.6%, per year. Cumulatively from 2000 to 2010, Massachusetts’ population increased by 198,265 – or 3.1% total. Since Census 2010, Massachusetts’ population has already increased by 344,718, or 5.3% cumulatively.
The U.S. Census Bureau produces revised population estimates each year by adding updated components of change to the Census 2010 base. These components include both the number of births and deaths, which together constitute the natural increase. They also include net domestic migration (migration to and from other states within the U.S.) and net international migration (migration to and from other countries) which sum to the total net migration. A fifth component, the group quarters population, is factored into the estimates base for the previous year, but is not broken out as a separate number in the Bureau’s published release.
According to the U.S. Census estimates, from July 1, 2018 to July 1, 2019 Massachusetts experienced 70,419 births and 58,564 deaths, for a net natural increase of 11,855. At the same time, Massachusetts experienced a net outflow of 30,274 persons to other states in the U.S. and a net inflow of 28,426 persons from other countries, for total net migration of 1,848 persons. Figure 5 displays the extent to which a higher number of births offsets the number of deaths and how positive international migration offsets some of the negative net domestic migration to sum to positive population change overall in Massachusetts during this period.
Massachusetts has long experienced, to varying degrees, component patterns similar to those seen above. Figure 6 below shows the trends in these components from 2000 through 2019.
A greater number of births over deaths and positive international migration offsetting negative domestic migration have all contributed to an overall population increase this decade and last. Domestic out-migration from Massachusetts peaked in the middle of the last decade with an estimated net outflow of 55,788 persons leaving Massachusetts for other parts of the United States in 2004. This outflow was reduced significantly in 2007 (by 52%) and again in 2008 (by 63%), and then finally reversed to a positive in-flow in 2009, with an estimated 6,843 net persons moving into Massachusetts from other U.S. states.
In the years since 2010, domestic migration reverted to a negative value again. The domestic outflow has been more moderate compared to the peak outflow over the last decade, however the outflow has been increasing since 2010 and is now at an estimated 30,274 persons net. At the same time, estimated international immigration into the state has fallen off sharply between 2018 (38,352) and 2019 (28,426). Notably, 2019 marks the first year since 2007 when international immigration was not large enough to offset all domestic outmigration, such that total migration summed to a net outflow (of 1,848 persons.)
Births and deaths throughout the 2000-2019 period have been much less variable from year to year than migration, however births have been trending slightly downwards and deaths slightly upwards through the period, yielding an overall decrease in population attributed to “natural increase” over the course of the time series.
An examination of the components-of-change data begins to answer the question of why some states or regions are racing ahead in growth while others lag behind. From 2010 to 2019, Massachusetts, was the fastest growing state in the Northeast Region. The estimated components data suggest that, while Massachusetts shows a reasonable rate of natural increase compared to other northeastern states, its total positive migration – specifically the large number of international in-migrants nearly offsetting the number of domestic out-migrants – explains why the state leads the region in growth, as shown in Table 2 below.
Table 2. Estimated Components of Resident Population Change for the United States, Regions, and Northeast States July 1, 2018 to July 1, 2019
|Geographic Area||Vital Events||Net Migration|
Another way to compare this data over different geographies is to first convert it to a rate so that larger and smaller geographies can be evaluated together. Table 3 below shows the rate, per 1,000 persons, of each change component for the United States, U.S. Regions, and the Northeast States, including Massachusetts.
These estimated component rates indicate that Massachusetts births are occurring at a lower rate (10.2 per 1,000 average population) than in the United States as a whole (11.6) and each U.S. region on average (Table 3). Deaths in Massachusetts are also occurring at a lower rate (8.5) than other regions of the U.S. except the West (7.5), but are almost on par with the U.S. average of 8.7. Taken together, these vital events lead to a natural increase rate (1.7) that is below that of the U.S. as a whole (2.9) and all of its regions, except the Northeast, which is also 1.7. Note that all other states in the Northeast except for New Jersey and New York show even smaller rates of natural increase, as this region of the U.S. tends to be older than the greater U.S.
As for migration, we see that the Northeast and Midwest regions experience net domestic out-migration (-5.3 and -2.4 per 1,000 population, respectively) while the Southern and Western regions have positive domestic migration (3.3 and 0.6). The domestic migration rate of -4.4 in Massachusetts is less than the Northeast regional average of -5.3, but still indicates net domestic outmigration to Southern and Western states. On the other hand, the international migration rate of 4.1 for Massachusetts is more than double that of the U.S. as a whole (1.8) and exceeds all U.S. regional averages and all other Northeast states. According to the latest Census estimates, only Florida ranks higher than Massachusetts in its rate of annual net international immigration per 1,000 population. (Table 4). In terms of numbers of net immigrants, Massachusetts ranked 5th (Table 5). As a result, Massachusetts domestic outmigration is almost offset, and total migration, including domestic and international, nets to -0.3 per 1,000 population - higher than both the Northeast and Midwest regional averages (Table 3).
Table 3. Estimated Annual Rates of the Components of Resident Population Change for the United States, Regions, and Northeast States July 1, 2018 to July 1, 2019
|Geographic Area||Vital Events||Net Migration|
|Births||Deaths||Natural Increase||International Migration||Domestic Migration||Total Migration|
Table 4: States with the Highest Rates of Net International Immigration, 2019
|State||Rate of Net Interational Immgration||Ranking|
|District of Columbia||3.7||3|
Table 5. States With the Highest Net International Immigration, 2019
|State||Net International Immigrants||Ranking|
Figure 7 demonstrates the magnitude of each of the components of population change, graphing component rates by U.S. region. Births represent the component with the greatest influence on population change, and are more heavily weighted to the West, South, and Midwest. Deaths are the second most influential component and are most prominent in the Midwest, South, and Northeast. International migration is heavily weighted to the Northeast, while domestic migration adds to the West and especially to the South, with losses in the Midwest and especially the Northeast.
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Table 1. Annual and Cumulative Estimates of Resident Population Change for the United States, Regions, and Northeast States and Rankings: July 1, 2018 to July 1, 2019 and April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2019