Massachusetts Population 2017


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.

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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
2020 6,990,912 0.57%
2019 6,951,614 0.57%
2018 6,912,316 0.57%
2017 6,873,018 0.58%
2016 6,833,720 0.58%
2015 6,794,422 0.58%
2014 6,755,124 0.69%
2013 6,708,810 0.77%
2012 6,657,780 0.70%
2011 6,611,797 0.98%
2010 6,547,629 0.31%
2000 6,349,097 0.54%
1990 6,016,425 0.48%
1980 5,737,037 0.08%
1970 5,689,170 1.00%
1960 5,148,578 0.94%
1950 4,690,514 0.83%
1940 4,316,721 0.16%
1930 4,249,614 0.99%
1920 3,852,356 1.36%
1910 3,366,416 1.84%
1900 2,805,346 2.28%
1890 2,238,943 2.30%
1880 1,783,085 2.04%
1870 1,457,351 1.70%
1860 1,231,066 2.16%
1850 994,514 3.03%
1840 737,699 1.91%
1830 610,408 1.55%
1820 523,287 1.04%
1810 472,040 1.11%
1800 422,845 1.11%
1790 378,787 0.00%

Massachusetts Facts

Massachusetts Population in 2017 Source:

  • 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

  • Population
  • Density
  • Growth Since 2010
  • State Rank
  • % of State

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

To compare Massachusetts to other states, click here.

Population by Race

Race Population Percentage

Based on percentages taken from the 2010 US Census, Massachusetts has the 10th largest percentage of Asian Americans in relation to total population.

The non-Hispanic white population of Massachusetts has declined to its current level from almost 85% in 1970. Interestingly, a large number of African-Americans migrated to the state during the early 20th century, although in fewer numbers than most other states in the area. Later in the century, there was a great deal of immigration to the area from East Asia, Africa and Latin America. Today, Massachusetts has the 3rd largest population of Haitians in the country, with a large population of Portuguese as well.

Languages Spoken in Massachusetts

Language Population Percentage
Population 5 years and over 6,238,762 100
English 5,245,387 84.08
Spanish 502,615 8.06
Portuguese 181,810 2.91
Chinese 70,395 1.13
French 60,905 0.98
Cantonese 18,920 0.3
German 17,515 0.28
Mandarin 15,365 0.25
Kru, Ibo, Yoruba 12,215 0.2

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

HighSchoolGraduate 90
BachelorsDegree 40
Disabled 8
NoHealthInsurance 4
LaborForceTotal 68
LaborForceFemale 63
FoodServiceSales 17,508,975
HealthCareRevenue 63,583,090
ManufacturerShipments 81,927,799
MerchantWholesalesSales 123,904,370
RetailSales 92,915,380
RetailSalesPerCapita 13,980
MeanWorkTravelTime 28
MedianHouseholdIncome 67,846
PerCapitaIncome 36,441
PovertyPercentage 12

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

NonemployerEstablishments 502,274
AllFirms 607,664
MenOwnedFirms 357,158
WomenOwnedFirms 199,210
MinorityOwnedFirms 89,967
NonminorityOwnedFirms 499,959
VeteranOwnedFirms 58,339
NonveteranOwn 525,667

Massachusetts Housing

HousingUnits 2,845,699
HousingUnits 2,808,254
OwnerOccupiedRate 62
OwnerOccupiedMedianValue 329,900
MonthlyOwnerCostsMortage 2,095
MonthlyOwnerCostsNoMortage 707
MedianGrossRent 1,088
BuildingPermits 17,424
Households 2,538,485
PersonsPerHousehold 3
SameHouseOneYearAgo 87
NonEnglishAtHome 22
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