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South Coast Today: Boom or bust? SouthCoast could be on verge of population explosion

Population Estimates Program  manager Susan Strate was quoted in an article appearing on which examined a population study recent released by the Institute. The study projected that the population in the southeastern Massachusetts towns of Mattapoisett and Marion would collectively decline by more than 1,000 over the next two decades.

Town administrators and city planners are not entirely convinced by those findings, citing a recent Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District study that expects the area’s population to grow by approximately 1,300 over the same time span.

Strate discussed the discrepancies in the two studies, explaining the methodology behind the Donahue Institute’s findings, which are the results of a mathematical formula based on Census data and the anticipated continuation of recent trends in birth, death and migration rates. "Our migration rates are based on the last five to 10 years," she said. "All the trends we're picking up are from the last 10 years. It's not always the case but it's often the case that if a community was declining over the past 10 years then it's likely to continue."

The alternative study incorporates regional planning initiatives into its projections, arriving at their conclusion by accounting for "policy considerations," such as the region's relatively low cost of living, economic potential and the expected arrival of commuter rail in producing much more positive projections.

"Ours is a very demographic approach," she said. "It doesn't take into account any plans for unusual development. If development in a community is going to go roughly along the same path as it has been going, ... then these (projections) would be a very fair predictor of what's about to happen. If something new or different, something out of character for that city or town is in the works, we are not going to catch it."

Read article: Boom or bust? SouthCoast could be on verge of population explosion

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