Lawrence, Haverhill, Methuen Show Significant Population Growth Since 2010 Census

Secretary of State William F. Galvin gestures to a county-level map showing the 2020 Census results. (Photograph by Sam Doran/SHNS.)

Haverhill and area cities grew significantly during the last decade with Lawrence gaining 12,766 people for a total of 89,143 people, Haverhill growing by 6,908 residents for a total of 67,787 and Methuen growing by 5,804 residents to 53,059.

After months of pandemic-induced delays, the U.S. Census Bureau on Thursday released the local-level population and demographic data from the 2020 count of the nation’s population, triggering a sprint to redraw the boundaries of the state’s legislative and Congressional districts over the coming months.

The 2020 Census counted 7,029,917 people living in Massachusetts, a 482,288-person or 7.4 percent increase over the last decade that outpaced the 4.1 percent average in the northeast and equaled the growth rate of the country as a whole. The state’s growth has been uneven, likely requiring the western Massachusetts districts represented by U.S. Rep. Richard Neal and U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern’s western/central district to be expanded in size to meet the 781,497-constituent target set by Census officials, while the footprint of eastern districts close to Boston may need to shrink or shift west.

There were also population gains in all 10 of the largest Bay State cities—Boston (+58,053), Worcester (+25,473), Springfield (+2,869), Lowell (+9,035), Cambridge (+13,241), New Bedford (+6,007), Brockton (+11,833), Quincy (+9,365), Lynn (+10,924) and Fall River (+5,143), but decreases in Holyoke (-1,642), Pittsfield (-810), North Adams (-747) and Westfield (-260).

Besides Lawrence and Haverhill, cities outside the 10 most populous cities that saw growth were Revere (+10,431), Everett (+7,408) and Malden (+6,813).

“We’ve had significant changes within our state. We’ve seen cities grow dramatically… Many of the suburban communities grow as well,” said Secretary of the Commonwealth William F.  Galvin, the state’s liaison to the Census. He added, “Particularly gratifying was seeing some of the communities that we were most concerned about, where we knew there were significant populations of non-native born persons, being fully counted. So, for instance, the city of Lawrence is now at 89,000, a dramatic gain. The city of Revere had the greatest percentage gain. The city of Chelsea, one of the concerns we constantly expressed, is now at 40,000 people. The city of New Bedford is at 102,000 people. These are all communities that, even to the last days of the Census, we were constantly struggling to make sure people were counted in those communities.”

The only two counties in Massachusetts to shed residents over the last decade were Berkshire (-2,193) and Franklin (-343). Every other county saw population growth, led by the gains of 128,917 people in Middlesex County, 75,913 people in Suffolk County and 66,670 people in Essex County. By growth percentage, Nantucket County led the way with a 40.1 percent gain (an increase of 4,083 people).

That’s at odds with the national trend, the U.S. Census Bureau said Thursday. Across the country, less than half (47 percent) of the nation’s 3,143 counties gained population over the last decade.

Galvin said the new numbers from the Census mean that Congressional districts will include 781,000 people, state Senate districts will include more than 175,000 people and state House of Representative districts will include almost 44,000 people.

“So all of these districts are going to have to change. And there’s going to have to be some significant adjustment made,” Galvin said. “Just to take Boston because it’s the largest city as an example, Boston appears to have gained—did gain—58,000 people. That means it probably would gain an additional, potentially an additional, seat in the House of Representatives.”

The Special Joint Committee on Redistricting, led by Assistant House Majority Michael Moran and Senate President Pro Tempore William Brownsberger, has already held more than 18 hearings on the redistricting process and is expected to hold more public hearings once its proposed district maps are available.

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