Since the 2010 census, the Massachusetts population has grown by 1.5%, or nearly 100,000 people. That puts the state almost on par with population growth across the country. That’s an improvement over recent years of stagnant growth.
The number of people living in Massachusetts sagged in the middle of the last decade, primarily due to out-migration, with thousands of residents leaving the state for other parts of the country every year.
“That topped out at about 55,000 people in 2005, obviously showing some very slow growth years for Massachusetts around that period.”
That’s Susan Strate, the director of Population Estimates at the UMass Donohue Institute. Strate says an expensive housing market and a shortage of jobs made it tough for families and young people to justify remaining in the state.
“You could also have seen the snowbird effect, people moving to the west and to the south for different climates, and to some extent that still continues.”
Strate says the Massachusetts population did begin to bounce back in 2008 and 2009, but she says that was mainly due to the recession which forced many residents in the state and elsewhere to stay put rather than face the financial risk of moving. Strate says in recent years younger people have been moving to Massachusetts, something she says 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.”
But Strate says its one thing to move to the state, it’s another to stay. She says academic institutions will continue to attract young people to massachusetts. but she adds the state needs to provide enough jobs and affordable housing to ensure they stay after graduation.