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Secretary Of State Galvin Sounds Alarm On Western Massachusetts Population

Massachusetts Secretary of State Bill Galvin (left) and Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno in Springfield walk to a press conference.
Adam Frenier
Massachusetts Secretary of State Bill Galvin (left) and Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno in Springfield walk to a press conference.

Massachusetts Secretary of State Bill Galvin said action needs to be taken to grow the population of the western part of the state. He made his comments Wednesday during a visit to Springfield.

According to the recently released 2020 U.S. census, Massachusetts' population grew by more than 7%.

But Hampshire and Hampden counties increased at a much slower rate than the rest of the state.

Two others, Berkshire and Franklin counties, lost population.

Galvin said that just like in eastern Massachusetts, job creation is key to boosting the population.

"The reality is there has to be a concentrated effort from the state, at the state level, to bring about new economic activity here in western Massachusetts," he said.

Galvin warned that areas losing population could lose state legislative seats, as the census is the basis for redrawing those districts — as well as the congressional ones. A committee of state lawmakers is currently working on redistricting.

He also said shrinking communities miss out on some funding for education, transportation and public health programs.

The release of the census data brought good news for the city of Springfield.

Mayor Domenic Sarno said he's "elated" by the city's population growth. Numbers released last week show nearly 156,000 people living in Springfield, a gain of nearly 2% from the last census a decade ago.

Sarno said the population staying above 150,000 means the city remains eligible for increased federal aid due to its size.

"You fall below that 150, you lose a myriad of funding," Sarno said. "And that goes to housing, youth development, job creation, economic development — you name it."

Galvin said he believes the addition of affordable housing units in the city helped with the population bump since the last census in 2010.

Adam joined NEPM as a freelance reporter and fill-in operations assistant during the summer of 2011. For more than 15 years, Adam has had a number stops throughout his broadcast career, including as a news reporter and anchor, sports host and play-by-play announcer as well as a producer and technician.
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