The Division of Research and Epidemiology (REPI) uses the U.S. Census to calculate health indicator rates. The population changes constantly due to births, deaths, and migration in and out of the state, but the Census is only conducted once every ten years. Therefore, REPI needs to update population data. The population is estimated every year after the Census (the "post-censal" years), and these estimates are called, "post-censal" estimates.

REPI currently uses three main sources for post-censal population estimates:

  1. The U.S. Census Bureau Population Estimates Program
  2. The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) Bridged-Race file
  3. The U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey (ACS) Estimates

The estimates from these sources differ in several ways:

  1. Race and Hispanic Ethnicity Tabulation and Reporting:
    • The U.S. Census Bureau Population Estimates use the 1997 Office of Management and Budget (OMB) standards for the collection of data on race and ethnicity, which allows persons to specify more than one race. "Hispanic" is an ethnicity, and not a race.
    • The NCHS Bridged-Race file takes the 31 race categories resulting from the OMB 1997 standards in the Census Bureau estimates (White, Black or African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian or Pacific Islander), Hispanic origin (not Hispanic or Latino, Hispanic or Latino), and bridges them to the to the four race categories specified under the 1977 OMB standards.
    • The ACS estimates population from a sample survey, and uses the OMB 1997 standards for the collection of race and ethnicity.
  2. Geographic levels for which data are available:
    • The U.S. Census Bureau Population Estimates are stratified by race and Hispanic ethnicity, sex, and age for the Nation, States, and Counties. There are only unstratified estimates of the total population at the city/town level.
    • The NCHS Bridged-Race file has population estimates bridged from the many Census Bureau Estimates race categories, to four race groups and Hispanic ethnicity, from the 1977 OMB standards for the Nation, State, and Counties. There are no city/town estimates.
    • The ACS population estimates are available for the state, 12 of the 14 counties (there is no information for Dukes and Nantucket counties), and 12 large cities: Boston, Brockton, Cambridge, Fall River , Framingham, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, New Bedford, Newton, Quincy, Somerville, Springfield, and Worcester.
  3. Information available:
    • The U.S. Census Bureau Population Estimates Program and the National Center for Health Statistics create population estimates only.
    • The American Community Survey tabulates survey data on demographic, housing, social, and economic information.

The Division of Research and Epidemiology uses data from each of these three sources depending upon the requirements of the health indicators rates.

Most Recent Population Information

The most recent Massachusetts population estimates from the Census Bureau Population Estimates Program are for 2007.

MA 2007 Population Age Sex Race & Ethnicity Census Bureau Estimates (PDF) pdf format of city-town-pop-estimates07.pdf xls format of city-town-pop-estimates07.xls

The most recent estimates from the Census Bureau population Estimates Program are for 2006 for at the city/town level.

MA 2006 City & Town Population Census Bureau Estimates (PDF) pdf format of city-town-pop-estimates06.pdf xls format of city-town-pop-estimates06.xls

The most recent bridged Massachusetts population estimates from National Center for Health Statistics are for 2006.

MA 2006 Population Age Sex Race & Ethnicity NCHS Bridged (PDF) pdf format of age-sex-race-pop-bridged06.pdf xls format of age-sex-race-pop-bridged06.xls

The most recent population estimates available from the American Community Survey are for 2006.

MA 2006 Population Age Sex Race & Ethnicity American Community Survey (PDF) pdf format of age-sex-race-community-survey06.pdf xls format of age-sex-race-community-survey06.xls

The most recent MA City & Town population estimates, which were created by the Division of Research and Epidemiology and MassCHIP, stratified by age, sex, and race and Hispanic ethnicity are available for 2005 via MassCHIP custom reports. See the MassCHIP link below.

Links for other sources of demographic information


This information is provided by the Division of Research and Epidemiology within the Department of Public Health.