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How population numbers in Boston and Massachusetts changed over the past 8 years

Part of Boston’s skyline.MARCIO JOSE BASTO/Shutterstock/File

Many areas in Massachusetts saw their populations increase from 2010 to 2018, with Greater Boston ranking as the 10th most populous in the nation — but three counties saw a net loss of residents, according to new Census Bureau estimates.

The new data show that the population in Suffolk County, which includes Boston, increased from 722,190 in 2010 to 807,252 in 2018. Worcester County also saw a sizeable jump, from 798,383 to 830,839, as did Essex County, from 743,081 to 790,638.

And Middlesex County — the most populous in the state — saw its population rise from 1.503 million in 2010 to 1.614 million in 2018, data show.


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The Greater Boston metropolitan area (defined by the census as Boston-Cambridge-Newton) also grew — from 4.55 million in 2010 to 4.875 million — and came in as the 10th most populous in the nation. (Unsurprisingly, the top spot went to the New York City area, with nearly 20 million residents in 2018, followed by Los Angeles at nearly 13.3 million.)

However, not all areas of Massachusetts saw a net gain of residents: Barnstable, Berkshire, and Franklin counties all saw population losses from 2010 to 2018.

For some, that might not come as a surprise. For instance, the dwindling number of school-aged children on Cape Cod recently captured headlines in a Boston Globe article that paints a picture of a region struggling to fend off threats to its labor force and economy.

Looking at it from a more overall view, though, Massachusetts as a state saw its population increase: from 6.56 million in 2010 to 6.9 million in 2018.

Nationwide, counties in the south and west led in population growth.

The Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington area of Texas led American metropolises in new residents, according to the census data, growing by 131,767 residents since 2017 and gaining more than 1 million residents since 2010. (The Houston-Woodlands-Sugar Land area also gained more than 1 million people over the eight years.)


“One interesting trend we are seeing this year is that metro areas not among the most populous are ranked in the top 10 for population growth,” Sandra Johnson, a demographer in the Census Bureau’s Population Division, said in a statement.

“Though no new metro areas moved into the top 10 largest areas, Phoenix, Seattle, Austin, Texas, and Orlando all experienced numeric increases in population since 2010, rivaling growth in areas with much larger populations. This trend is consistent with the overall growth we are seeing in the South and the West.”

The recent statistics are just the first part of an ongoing data release by the Census Bureau. In the coming months, the organization also plans to deliver 2018 population estimates for specific cities and towns; national, state, and county housing unit estimates; and national, state, and county population estimates by age, sex, race and Hispanic origin.

Matt Rocheleau of the Globe staff contributed to this report.