WMass population growth slow, Census figures show

Hampden and Hampshire Counties have grown slightly since 2010, Berkshire and Franklin Counties have not

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – New numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau are out, and they show that population-wise, western Massachusetts is not growing very fast. The estimates for population level in 2014 were released this week, and they show that along with much of the rest of the northeastern United States, the region has been largely stagnant.

Hampden County, with an estimated 467,414 people (up from 463,490) was the only one of the four western Massachusetts counties to see its population consistently increase between 2010 and 2014. Between 2013 and 2014, its population went up 0.16%.

The population of Berkshire County, on the other hand, has gone down every year since 2010. Its 2014 estimate of 128,715 people represents a loss of more than 2,500 residents since the beginning of the decade, and the county lost 0.60% of its population between 2013 and 2014 alone.

Franklin County, the least populous of the four western Massachusetts counties, saw smaller changes, but has still declined in population, from 71,372 in the 2010 census to 70,862 people in 2014.

Hampshire County saw very small changes, in fact the 2010 Census number and the 2011 estimate came in exactly the same at 158,080 people. Overall, the county grew slightly in the early part of this decade, with a 2014 estimate of 160,939 people, though that number was down a very small amount from the 2013 estimate.

Massachusetts as a whole has been growing, but the bulk of that growth has been in the greater Boston area. Suffolk County, which includes Boston, has seen its population increase by about 40,000 in the last four years, while suburban Middlesex County, the state’s most populous, has seen an influx of nearly 70,000 new residents. In fact, every county in central and eastern Massachusetts posted a population increase between 2013 and 2014.

Neighboring Connecticut has not fared as well. The state as a whole declined in population in the last year, with Fairfield County being the only of the state’s eight counties to see a population increase between 2013 and 2014. Eastern and southern Vermont, northern Maine, and most of upstate New York also saw population declines.

For more comprehensive information about their findings, check out the Census.gov Data Mapper

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