Growth projections could pose challenges for metro Boston

The Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) recently released a report to help the region and surrounding communities plan for the future, but since the future cannot be predicted with certainty they have two different scenarios based on different assumptions. One projection, called the “Status Quo” assumes a continuation of current trends and a second projection called “Stronger Region” explores how changing trends could result in a higher population growth, more demand for housing and a substantially larger workforce. The projections provide a window into what the region’s future might look like.

Massachusetts population shifts, METROPOLITAN AREA PLANNING COUNCIL

Click on maps to enlarge || Source: MAPC Analysis

Above is a side-by-side comparison of projected population changes under both scenarios. However, Boston’s population has increased by nearly 50,000 people (in 2010 the city’s population was 618,000 and in 2016 it increased to approximately 667,137) so perhaps their projections need to be revised. Under the “Stronger Region” projection it suggests the area could gain 90k+ by 2030 but the current trajectory suggests that could be achieved by 2023; although this doesn’t take into account a general population drain that may be happening in surrounding communities. Key findings include the following:

  • Slow growth is in store if the region keeps losing population to other states. Therefore attracting more young people is critical to growing the region’s
    economy.
  • New housing demand will outpace population growth due to declining household size. Many signs point to the resurgence of urban
    communities.
  • Under either scenario, the number of school-age children in the region and most municipalities peaked in 2000 and is likely to decline over the coming decades.

According to US Census data, the city of Boston had a population of 618,000 people in 2010, that increased to approximately 667,137 in 2016. The Greater Boston area is home to an estimated 4.7 million, making it the 10th largest metropolitan area in the United States.

If you’d like to read the executive summary or full report shared by MAPC visit their website, www.mapc.org/learn/projections.

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