Central Mass. towns see population gains

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U.S. Census Bureau figures indicate that while the state as a whole has seen a slight decrease in population during this decade, many towns, especially in central Massachusetts, have grown significantly.

According to recently released Census Bureau estimates, between 2000 and 2006, the population of 27 towns grew by at least 10 percent. Twelve of those towns are in Worcester County. Four others – Northfield to the east, Brimfield to the south, and Groton and Dunstable to the northwest – are within 10 miles of Worcester County.

The 11 other towns with double-digit population gains include six in Bristol or Plymouth counties, two in Essex County, one on Martha’s Vineyard, one in Berkshire County, and one in Hampden County.

Worcester County as a whole grew by 32,212 people, or 4.3 percent, according to the Census Bureau estimates. Plymouth County saw the next-largest gain: 19,057 (4 percent).

Most Massachusetts cities, meanwhile, experienced either small gains or a net loss in population. Marlborough was the fastest-growing city, according to the Census Bureau data, with an increase of 4 percent.

Lawrence Adams, executive director of the Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Council, attributed the growth in Worcester County to a greater availability of land and lower housing prices compared to communities closer to Boston, as well as the emergence of a biomedical industry in the region.

Many towns in Worcester County, Adams said, are struggling to cope with increased traffic and the need for new schools. In some instances, he said, schools built fairly recently to accommodate growth already have reached maximum capacity.

Click here for 2006 population estimates for a specific city, town or county.


Fastest-growing Mass. towns
(Growth of at least 10 percent between 2000 and 2006)

Abington
Berkeley
Berlin
Brimfield
Charlton
Chilmark
Douglas
Dunstable
Grafton
Groton
Groveland
Hancock
Hubbardston
Middleton
Montgomery
New Braintree
Northfield
Oakham
Pembroke
Raynham
Rehobeth
Rochester
Rutland
Sturbridge
Templeton
Upton
Uxbridge

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Written by MMA Associate Editor Mitch Evich