Western Mass. population growth to slow, while eastern Mass. grows

Deaths will eventually outpace births in state's four western counties

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – A new study projects that the population in western Massachusetts will grow more slowly than the rest of the state.

The study by the UMass Donahoe Institute examines population projections into the year 2035. It shows that the population in Hampden and Hampshire Counties will steadily rise — but the rate of growth will fall off by 2025. The study says that is when deaths are expected to outpace births.

The study shows that the Five College Area accounts for the vast majority of young people who choose to live here, but it also shows that many students don’t stick around after graduation, explained Susan Strate, population program director for the Donahoe Institute.

“Some towns are showing slight increases over the next few years. Holyoke, Northampton, Easthampton- some including Amherst and Greenfield are starting to show slow decline over the next 10 years. In Amherst, it’s because the Millennials are moving out of college,” Strate said.

The study also shows that the Berkshires are losing population.

Massachusetts as a whole, however, is leading the New England region when it comes to growth in overall population.

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