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Socio-Economic Projections


Every four years in conjunction with the development of the Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) the CMRPC develops socio-economic projections for each community in the region which include population and employment projections. The current set of projections were developed in cooperation with MassDOT and the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute (UMDI), the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) and the other Regional Planning Agencies (RPAs) and Metropolitan Planning Organization’s (MPOs) in Massachusetts. To augment the MassDOT projections and aid in the development of planning scenarios the CMRPC has developed a second set of projections that envision are return closer to prior growth following the end of the COVID-19 pandemic referred to as the CMRPC Regionally Customized Projections.

Background and Future Growth

Future population growth in the U.S., Massachusetts and the CMRPC region is slowing. From July 1, 2020, to July 1, 2021, the U.S. population grew by 0.1%, the lowest rate since the nation’s founding. The U.S. Census Bureau attributes the slow rate of growth to decreased net international migration, decreased fertility, and increased mortality due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Other factors also contributing to a much lower growth rate include Baby Boomers who are aging into high-mortality cohorts; and millennials who are aging out of high-fertility cohorts with no apparent “third wave” coming behind them. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, by 2030 more than one in five Americans will be over the age of 65

The table below shows the census population and number of households for the 2000, 2010 and 2020 decennial census by CMRPC community as well as the number of jobs for the years 2000 and 2010 according to the State of Massachusetts.

To develop these projections, UMDI has considered national trends, as well as the uniqueness of Massachusetts. UMDI examined the latest release of the 2020 U.S. Census, in-migration trends in Massachusetts, the birth and death rates of the State, average State life expectancy by gender, the age distribution of the population over time, and the ability of the State to retain college students who come to Massachusetts. To supplement available census data the development of the projections also utilized MassBuilds a statewide database of developments in Massachusetts developed by MAPC (https://www.massbuilds.com/map). The CMRPC regionally customized projections aim to show what the region would look like if previously observed growth trends continued out to 2050.

Additionally, MAPC has development a statewide forecasting model for Massachusetts utilizing the UrbanSim platform, to also help define and allocate population and employment growth. UrbanSim takes as input: zoning, tax assessors maps, buildable land, and transportation accessibility to predict where development may occur. UrbanSim works at the Census Block Group level, not the community level, and this allows UrbanSim to properly consider growth based on key development factors instead of community factors. 

The tables below show the population and employment projections for the CMRPC out to 2050 for both the MassDOT Statewide projections and the CMRPC Regionally Customized Projections.


The following links provide the documentation of the methods used while drafting the Socio-Economic Projections used for 2050Connections. “Long-Term Population Projections for Massachusetts Municipalities and Regional Planning Areas Methodology” is the methodology used by UMDI to develop the state and regional population controlee totals used by MAPC and CMRPC to develop town-level projections. “Massachusetts State and Regional Employment Projections” is the methodology used by UMDI to develop the state and regional employment control totals used by MAPC and CMRPC to develop town-level projections. “Central Massachusetts Regional Socio-Economic Projections” is the methodology used by the CMRPC to draft the CMRPC Regionally Customized Projections based on the MAPC population and employment allocations. “MAPC Projection Allocation” is the methodology for the MAPC allocation for town-level population, employment, and household numbers. 

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Municipalities and governmental entities are allowed to contract directly with CMRPC in accordance with MGL Chapter 30B Sections 1 (b) (3) and (b) (9). Contract with CMRPC, contact CMRPC’s Executive Director, Janet Pierce at jpierce@cmrpc.org

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