By Michael P. Norton
State House News Service
---- — BOSTON - The population of Massachusetts, a factor for everything from business growth and property taxes to Congressional representation, is expected to grow 4.4 percent between 2010 and 2030, according to a study released today.
The UMass Donahue Institute’s Population Estimates Program study concluded the Massachusetts population will increase by 290,589 over the 20-year period, estimating a 2030 population of 6,838,254. Most the growth, or 3.2 percent, is expected to occur between 2010 and 2020.
By comparison, the population of Massachusetts grew by 3.1 percent between 2000 and 2010, a period when the U.S. population increased by 9.7 percent.
With other states growing faster than Massachusetts, the Bay State lost one of its seats in the U.S. House following the 1990 Census and another after the 2010 Census. Massachusetts holds nine seats in the U.S. House of Representatives after the state Legislature put in place new district boundaries for the 2012 election cycle.
If the population estimates in the study hold up, Massachusetts may be at risk of losing another seat following decennial U.S. Census counts scheduled for 2020 and 2030.
While the state’s 4.4 percent growth rate over the 20-year period is more than the 3.3 percent growth rate for the Northeast as a whole, the study predicts the U.S. population will grow 15.6 percent over the same 20-year period, rising 8.2 percent between 2010 and 2020 and another 7.4 percent between 2020 and 2030.
Under the estimates released today, Massachusetts’ population will increase an average of only 0.22 percent a year between 2010 and 2030.
The study projects an increase in the state’s population of individuals 65 and older. That group accounted for 14 percent of the population in 2010, but is expected to represent 21 percent by 2030. Conversely, individuals 19 years old or younger accounted for 25 percent of the population in 2010, a share expected to fall to 22 percent by 2030. Those trends will likely have workforce and business implications.
The population in Boston, by far the state’s largest city, is expected to grow from 617,594 in 2010 to 689,991 in 2030, an 11.7 percent increase. Worcester’s population is projected to increase 6.7 percent over the 20-year period.
The study identifies Greater Boston (7.5 percent), central Massachusetts (6.9 percent) and MetroWest (5.8 percent) as areas where population growth will exceed the state average, and says the population in western Massachusetts may remain level or decline. The population in the Lower Pioneer Valley anchored in Springfield may decrease 4.5 percent if recent trends continue, the study said.
The report includes projections at five-year intervals and by age and sex for all Massachusetts cities and towns and eight regions of the state. Researchers say the data represents the first statewide, detailed population projections released publicly since 2003.
The institute’s population program is funded by Secretary of State William Galvin’s office and functions as both the state data center and the state liaison to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Population Division.