Massachusetts Population 2017

6,873,018

The State of Massachusetts played a significant part in the early history of the United States. Situated on the northeastern edge of the country, this tiny territory contains the town of Plymouth, home to the Pilgrim colony of 1620, and as one of the first settled states, the population statistics have always been healthy. As of 2016, Massachusetts' population stands at 6,794,422.

Moving forward to the present day, the Massachusetts population in 2016 has risen beyond the 6.7 million mark and it is the 3rd most densely populated area in the United States, despite being the 7th smallest state in the country. The population in 2016 is estimated at 6,794,422, up from the 6,547,629 figure recorded during the last official nationwide Census held in 2010. Massachusetts also has a fairly healthy population growth rate of 0.75% annually, which ranks 28th in the United States.

Massachusetts Demographics and Distribution

With a surface area of just 10,555 square miles or 27,336 square kilometers, Massachusetts is the seventh smallest state in the USA. The state has two major metropolitan areas: Greater Boston in the east and the Springfield metropolitan area in the west. Approximately 2/3 of the total Massachusetts population lives in Greater Boston, while Western Massachusetts has just one urban area with a good mix of rural areas and college towns. The state is currently the most populous of the six New England states, as well as the fastest growing.

However, Massachusetts makes use of virtually every inch of its land and, for every square mile of land, there is an average of 839.4 people. Those figures make Massachusetts the third most densely populated state in the entire country, and the 14th most populated state in the US, despite its small size.

Massachusetts Population Chart

Massachusetts Population History

The earliest set of recorded population figures can be traced back to 1790, and after 170 years of coloniation, there were aready plenty of people living in Massachusetts. That early census confirmed that 378,787 people were residents in the state.

The population of Massachusetts continued to grow, but unlike many other states in the country, which often had absurdly large increases of several hundred percent in a single decade in their early years as settlers headed West, the increases in Massachusetts were fairly steady. While other areas of the United States doubled in size on a census by census basis, Massachusetts had grown by 11.6% in 1800 to a figure of 422,845.

Population increases of a similar nature (in the order of 20% per decade on average) were experienced throughout the 19th century. By 1860 the numbers had breached the 1 million mark for the very first time. By the end of the century, they had passed 2.5 million. The 20th century has seen a gradual decline in growth rates, from around 20% per decade at the start of the century to around 5% per decade today, resulting in the Massachusetts population in 2016 exceeding 6.7 million.

The last official census in the United States was carried out in 2010 and at the time, it was confirmed that 6,547,629 people were living in the state, which represented a rise of 3.1% over a ten-year period.

Estimated figures were released in July 2015, claiming that the Massachusetts population has risen to 6,794,422, making this the 14th most populous state in the US.

Massachusetts Population Projections

Looking at population growth throughout the 20th century, there is an indication that rises within Massachusetts are slowing down. Natural growth remains healthy, however, and there are no reasons to suggest that the Massachusetts population will decrease anytime soon.

The population of Massachusetts has continued to climb over the last few decades, although it has been at a slower pace than most states in the West and South. The last census showed a growth of 3.9% since 2000, compared with almost 10% nationally. The state has been slowly transforming from a manufacturing-based economy into one based on technology, which leaves fewer job options for lower-skilled workers, and many residents have left the state citing high housing and living costs.

The 2020 Census will be interesting to watch, as it is possible that the Massachusetts population will have crept over the seven million mark. However, experts project that the population at the next Census will remain around 6.7 million, while 2030 may see a population of 6.8 million.

Population Data via US Census

Massachusetts Growth Rate

Massachusetts State Rank

Year Pop % Change
20206,990,9120.57%
20196,951,6140.57%
20186,912,3160.57%
20176,873,0180.58%
20166,833,7200.58%
20156,794,4220.58%
20146,755,1240.69%
20136,708,8100.77%
20126,657,7800.70%
20116,611,7970.98%
20106,547,6290.31%
20006,349,0970.54%
19906,016,4250.48%
19805,737,0370.08%
19705,689,1701.00%
19605,148,5780.94%
19504,690,5140.83%
19404,316,7210.16%
19304,249,6140.99%
19203,852,3561.36%
19103,366,4161.84%
19002,805,3462.28%
18902,238,9432.30%
18801,783,0852.04%
18701,457,3511.70%
18601,231,0662.16%
1850994,5143.03%
1840737,6991.91%
1830610,4081.55%
1820523,2871.04%
1810472,0401.11%
1800422,8451.11%
1790378,7870.00%

Massachusetts Facts

undefined Population in 2017Source:

  • Massachussetts was first settled by Pilgrims and was founded as Plymouth Colony in 1620.
  • Lowell was the first planned industrial city in the United States. It was also where the Industrial Revolution began.
  • Early Massachusetts settlers became known for resisting British control. Historical events include the Boston Tea Party and the American Revolution.
  • The first college established in North America was Harvard, which was founded in 1636.
  • The state has the lowest divorce rate (2.2 per 1,000 couples) in the nation.
  • The first subway system was established in Boston in 1897.

Massachusetts Population Density by County

Middlesex County

  • Population1,585,139
  • Density1938.25 per sq km
  • Growth Since 20105.17%
  • State Rank1
  • % of State23.33%

Massachusetts Population Growth Rate by County

When evaluating data from the 2010 Census and 2015 estimates taken by the Census Bureau, the state of Massachusetts saw overall growth in population by county with the exception of three counties. While there weren't any counties with significantly high growth that exceeded 10%, there were a few that exhibited growth rates above 5%. This includes the southernmost county of Nantucket, which grew by 7.49%, followed by Suffolk County at 7.29% and Middlesex County at 5.17%. Other counties that saw rowth rates below 5% include Essex, Plymouth, and Norfolk.

On the other side, there were a few counties that had decreases in population, but there are only three. The highest decline came on the western border, with Berkshire County posting a 2.63% population decrease between 2010 and 2015. Franklin County recorded a smaller decline at 0.99%, followed by Barnstable at 0.74%.

Population Pyramid

0k10k20k30k40k50kMassachusetts Male Population0k10k20k30k40k50kMassachusetts Female Population

To compare Massachusetts to other states, click here.

Population by Race

Race Population Percentage
White5,580,38582.13%
Black or African American574,1068.45%
American Indian and Alaska Native32,7510.48%
Asian445,9276.56%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander6,8630.1%
Two or More Races154,3902.27%

When evaluating data from the 2010 Census and 2015 estimates taken by the Census Bureau, the state of Massachusetts saw overall growth in population by county with the exception of three counties. While there weren't any counties with significantly high growth that exceeded 10%, there were a few that exhibited growth rates above 5%. This includes the southernmost county of Nantucket, which grew by 7.49%, followed by Suffolk County at 7.29% and Middlesex County at 5.17%. Other counties that saw rowth rates below 5% include Essex, Plymouth, and Norfolk.

On the other side, there were a few counties that had decreases in population, but there are only three. The highest decline came on the western border, with Berkshire County posting a 2.63% population decrease between 2010 and 2015. Franklin County recorded a smaller decline at 0.99%, followed by Barnstable at 0.74%.

Languages Spoken in Massachusetts

Language Population Percentage
Population 5 years and over6,238,762100
English5,245,38784.08
Spanish502,6158.06
Portuguese181,8102.91
Chinese70,3951.13
French60,9050.98
Cantonese18,9200.3
German17,5150.28
Mandarin15,3650.25
Kru, Ibo, Yoruba12,2150.2

This chart shows the top 10 non-English languages that are spoken at home in Massachusetts. The data comes from the most recent release of the American Community Survey (ACS).

Massachusetts Economy

Indicator Value
HighSchoolGraduate89.5
BachelorsDegree40
Disabled7.7
NoHealthInsurance3.8
LaborForceTotal67.5
LaborForceFemale63.3
FoodServiceSales17,508,975
HealthCareRevenue63,583,090
ManufacturerShipments81,927,799
MerchantWholesalesSales123,904,370
RetailSales92,915,380
RetailSalesPerCapita13,980
MeanWorkTravelTime28.3
MedianHouseholdIncome67,846
PerCapitaIncome36,441
PovertyPercentage11.6

This chart shows the employment and labor force participation rates in Massachusetts for residents over 16 years of age. The 2015 unemployment rate is 5.1% and the labor force participation rate is 67.5%.

Massachusetts Business

Indicator Value
NonemployerEstablishments502,274
AllFirms607,664
MenOwnedFirms357,158
WomenOwnedFirms199,210
MinorityOwnedFirms89,967
NonminorityOwnedFirms499,959
VeteranOwnedFirms58,339
NonveteranOwn525,667

Massachusetts Housing

Indicator Value
HousingUnits2,845,699
HousingUnits2,808,254
OwnerOccupiedRate62.3
OwnerOccupiedMedianValue329,900
MonthlyOwnerCostsMortage2,095
MonthlyOwnerCostsNoMortage707
MedianGrossRent1,088
BuildingPermits17,424
Households2,538,485
PersonsPerHousehold2.53
SameHouseOneYearAgo86.8
NonEnglishAtHome22.2
Data Sources
  1. Census State Population Estimates - Most recent state estimates from the Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program - released 6/23/2016
  2. Census County Population Estimates - Most recent county estimates from the Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program - released 6/23/2016
  3. American Community Survey (2009 - 2013)
  4. Census QuickFacts