SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The City of Springfield will continue to receive federal funding after completing the 2020 Census count.
While Massachusetts’ population grew over the last 10 years, much of that was in the eastern part of the state. The reason, fewer job opportunities west of Worcester.
Secretary of State William Galvin visited Springfield Wednesday morning to discuss the uneven growth over the last decade. The only two counties in Massachusetts to see a decrease in residents over the last decade were Berkshire and Franklin counties.
Every other county, including Hampshire, saw population growth. Galvin says the decrease is due to a lack of economic opportunities. He says we need more jobs in all four western counties, especially the hill towns.
“Western Massachusetts has been short-changed for a long time. That is not a secret, I am not giving you breaking news. What I am saying this is a call to action. For the next 10 years we need to be focused on the economic activity in western Massachusetts,” said Galvin.
Springfield saw an increase in its population over the last decade, now above 155,000 people. That means the city will continue to be eligible for federal funding, which is only available to cities with a population of 150,000 or more.
Every 10 years, the census takes a count of every resident in the country. In which the 2020 census showed major shifts in population in Massachusetts which means lawmakers will have to redraw district lines to make sure everyone’s voice is heard.
Western Massachusetts is at the center of the debate around redistricting because population levels vary pretty dramatically in the region. The state’s third largest city, Springfield grew in population over the last decade adding 2,869 new residents for a total of 155,929, but the cities of Holyoke, Pittsfield, North Adams, and Westfield lost hundreds of people.
Galvin addressed the potential impacts in other cities and towns in the area where the the population declined. Franklin and Berkshire Counties lost population between Census 2010 and 2020, with a loss of 343 in Franklin and 2,193 in Berkshire. Hampden County grew in population by 0.5% and Hampshire County increased by 2.7%, but both were far below the statewide population growth of 7.4%.
Massachusetts as a whole exceeded in population with over 7 million for the first time, with 7,029,917 total people.