NEPR: MA Population On Stronger Growth Track After Stagnant Years
Susan Strate, director of the Population Estimates Program at the UMass Donahue Institute, was quoted in New England Public Radio’s coverage of new U.S. census data, which shows that Massachusetts’ population has increased by 1.5%, or nearly 100,000 people since 2010. A county level report, scheduled to be released in March will quantify the impact that UMDI’s reevaluation of the Group Quarters population had on that increase.
The bounce comes after several years of sagging population numbers and the resulting loss of a House of Representatives seat. Strate attributes the lag to the thousands of residents who left the Bay State during the middle of the last decade to seek jobs, housing and warmer weather in other parts of the country.
The Massachusetts population did demonstrate modest growth in 2008 and 2009, a finding Strate connects to the recession, when residents were more apt to stay put rather than face the financial risk of moving.
Another factor contributing to Massachusetts' recent growth is the continued high rate of international migration into the state, which also tends to bring in a younger population; something that bodes well in a state where the median age continues to rise. "It helps to offset what you would call an age dependency ratio, where people start to age out of the workforce and there's nobody there to replace them."
Besides the state’s growing number of international immigrants, Strate believes Massachusetts’ academic institutions will continue to attract young people, but keeping them here will depend upon whether the state can provide sufficient jobs and affordable housing.
January 02, 2013