Fastest-growing counties in Massachusetts

Written by:
July 1, 2022
Jellymuffin40 // Wikimedia Commons

Fastest-growing counties in Massachusetts

Why do people move from one county or region to another? The usual suspects are jobs, family, significant others, and overall cost of living, but there are other elements at play. For those with children, moving within close proximity of a highly rated school district is a key contributing factor. For younger adults just starting out, living someplace with a vibrant social scene might be a top priority. And for those whose careers have wound down after a lifetime of work, finding retirement-friendly communities is the goal—communities deemed to be safe, offer accessibility to medical resources and leisure activities in equal measure, and be affordable for those on a limited income.

This is, of course, by no means an exhaustive list. People’s reasons for choosing to live where they do are as diverse as people themselves.

As far as why certain counties across the U.S. have experienced growth, relocation is not the sole, or even primary, reason why. While more than 1,800 counties saw population gains in 2021, approximately 73% of all U.S. counties saw what the U.S. Census Bureau characterizes as a natural decrease. This was a significant jump from 2020, when 55.5% of countries experienced such a decrease. According to the Bureau, natural decrease is the simple result of “when there are more deaths than births in a population over a given time period.” In 2021, the conflation of fewer births with an aging population that was also absorbing a higher-than-usual mortality rate due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic led to this “increased decrease.”

Nonetheless, as stated 1,800 counties nationwide have grown larger over the last year, and a sizable percentage of them are in Massachusetts. Stacker compiled a list of the fastest-growing counties in Massachusetts using data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Counties are ranked by the highest population growth from 2010 to 2020, based on the U.S. Decennial Census.

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#14. Berkshire County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -2,193
--- #2,869 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -1.7%
--- #14 among counties in Massachusetts, #1,777 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 129,026
--- #11 largest county in Massachusetts, #500 largest county nationwide
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AlexiusHoratius // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Franklin County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -343
--- #1,972 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -0.5%
--- #13 among counties in Massachusetts, #1,567 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 71,029
--- #12 largest county in Massachusetts, #766 largest county nationwide
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Real Window Creative // Shutterstock

#12. Hampden County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +2,335
--- #776 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +0.5%
--- #12 among counties in Massachusetts, #1,414 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 465,825
--- #8 largest county in Massachusetts, #154 largest county nationwide
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Jwgetchell // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Dukes County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +4,065
--- #622 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +24.6%
--- #2 among counties in Massachusetts, #71 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 20,600
--- #13 largest county in Massachusetts, #1,782 largest county nationwide
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thisisbossi // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Nantucket County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +4,083
--- #619 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +40.1%
--- #1 among counties in Massachusetts, #17 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 14,255
--- #14 largest county in Massachusetts, #2,129 largest county nationwide

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John Phelan // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Hampshire County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +4,228
--- #609 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +2.7%
--- #11 among counties in Massachusetts, #1,096 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 162,308
--- #10 largest county in Massachusetts, #411 largest county nationwide
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Wangkun Jia // Shutterstock

#8. Barnstable County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +13,108
--- #370 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +6.1%
--- #9 among counties in Massachusetts, #707 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 228,996
--- #9 largest county in Massachusetts, #300 largest county nationwide
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Marcbela (Marc N. Belanger) // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Bristol County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +30,915
--- #211 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +5.6%
--- #10 among counties in Massachusetts, #757 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 579,200
--- #6 largest county in Massachusetts, #119 largest county nationwide
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Schlitzer90 // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Plymouth County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +35,900
--- #179 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +7.3%
--- #8 among counties in Massachusetts, #611 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 530,819
--- #7 largest county in Massachusetts, #134 largest county nationwide
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Jameslwoodward // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Norfolk County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +55,131
--- #119 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +8.2%
--- #6 among counties in Massachusetts, #547 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 725,981
--- #5 largest county in Massachusetts, #91 largest county nationwide

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Daderot // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Worcester County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +63,559
--- #98 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +8.0%
--- #7 among counties in Massachusetts, #569 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 862,111
--- #2 largest county in Massachusetts, #72 largest county nationwide
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Bobak // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Essex County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +66,670
--- #92 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +9.0%
--- #4 among counties in Massachusetts, #486 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 809,829
--- #3 largest county in Massachusetts, #80 largest county nationwide
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#2. Suffolk County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +75,913
--- #77 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +10.5%
--- #3 among counties in Massachusetts, #392 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 797,936
--- #4 largest county in Massachusetts, #81 largest county nationwide
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Jellymuffin40 // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Middlesex County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +128,917
--- #39 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +8.6%
--- #5 among counties in Massachusetts, #513 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 1,632,002
--- #1 largest county in Massachusetts, #22 largest county nationwide

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