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Massachusetts Population Grows by Half-Million

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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Bay State's population has topped 7 million, according to the first 2020 numbers released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Monday.
 
Massachusetts saw an increase of 482,288 residents since 2010, or 7.4 percent, for a total of 7,029,917. That ranks the state at No. 15 for numerical change and 21 for percent change. The 2010 number was 6,547,629.
 
The state neither gained nor lost a congressional seat this time around. In 2010, Massachusetts lost one of its 10 districts when the 1st was merged with part of the 2nd Mass District, the first time it had lost a seat since 1992. Former U.S. Rep. John W. Olver, representing the 1st Mass, retired after the 2012 election won by current Congressman and Ways & Means Chairman Richie Neal of Springfield. Neal had served as representative to the 2nd Massachusetts District since 1989 and became the first to represent the newly redrawn 1st District.
 
Texas, which saw the highest percentage gain of all states at 15.9 percent, will get two more two House seats. Also gaining seats at one each are Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina and Oregon. This means Montana will double its representation by going from one congressman to two.
 
Losing one seat each are California, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. California, however, still has the greatest representation in the House at 52. Texas is still second with now 38. In a good example of how every resident counts, New York lost its seat by only 89 people.
 
Each state and commonwealth automatically has one representative; seats 51 through 435 (the number set by the  Reapportionment Act of 1929) are determined by population with each representing about 711,00 people. States losing seats did not necessarily lose population but rather did not grow as fast. California has 2.3 million more people than 2010 but Texas has 4 million more.
 
Should the District of Columbia or Puerto Rico be added as states, their representatives would be in addition to the current 435 until a resorting for the next election. This was done when Hawaii and Alaska became states in 1959.
 
Vermont saw 2.8 percent population growth, adding 17,336 people for a total of 643,077. The entire Northeast region saw 4.1 percent growth, or 2,291,908. The population is now 57,609,148, up from 55,317,240 in 2010.
 
The United States had a population increase of 22,703,743, or 7.4 percent, the lowest growth since 1930; the largest increase was 32,712,033, or 12 percent, between 1990 and 2000.
 
The total population is now 331,449,281, up from 308,745,538 in 2010. In comparison, the first Census of 1790, overseen by Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, recorded 3,929,214 people.

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First-time homebuyer? Follow these steps

Is homeownership a goal of yours? It does offer some benefits, in addition to meeting your basic need for shelter. The equity you build in your home can be a valuable financial asset, and you may get to deduct your interest payments on your taxes. But if you're a first-time homebuyer, what steps should you take?
 
First, make sure the time is right for you in terms of your personal and financial situations. For example, are you fairly confident that your employment is stable and that your earnings won't decline? Of course, external events can also play a role in your decision. A recent study by Morning Consult and Edward Jones found that 12 percent of respondents postponed purchasing a house during the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
But if you're ready and eager for homeownership, consider the following moves:
  • Save for a down payment. The more money you put down for a home, the lower your monthly payments, although there's also a point at which overly large down payments can be financially unwise. However, if you can make a down payment of more than 20 percent of the purchase price, you can generally avoid having to pay for private mortgage insurance on top of your monthly payments. Also, as a first-time homebuyer, you might qualify for down payment assistance from your local or state housing authority or a nonprofit group.
  • Check your credit score. A higher credit score gives you a better chance for a lower interest rate. You can request a credit report from annualcreditreport.com, and you might be able to get a credit score for free from your bank. If you need to improve your score, you may want to delay your home purchase.
  • Learn how much you qualify for – and how much you should spend. Once you think you're ready to begin the home-purchasing process, you may want to contact a few lenders to determine the size of the mortgage for which you qualify. Be aware, though, that just because you can get a mortgage of a certain amount, does not necessarily mean that you should. You don't want to become "house poor" – that is, you don't want to spend so much on your house payments that you are cash strapped and can't afford to save for other goals, such as college for your children or a comfortable retirement. You may want to establish a budget for how much you can readily afford to pay for your mortgage each month – and try sticking to it before you buy the house. If you have extra savings, put it toward your down payment.
  • Prepare for unexpected costs. You can plan for your mortgage, utilities, taxes and insurance – but when you own a home, you'll always encounter unexpected costs. You may need to get a new furnace, repair your roof or face any number of other maintenance issues. To help prepare for these costs, try to build an emergency fund containing three to six months' worth of living expenses, with the money kept in a liquid, low-risk account. Without such a fund, you might be forced to dip into your long-term investments or take on added debt to pay for these unanticipated expenses.
Homeownership can be a rewarding experience – and the rewards will be even be greater when you've "done the numbers" and prepared yourself financially.
 
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