Socio-Economic Projections for 2020 Regional Transportation Plans

During 2017 and 2018, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) led an effort to update population, household, and employment projections for Massachusetts and its metropolitan planning regions. Working closely with an advisory committee of regional and state agencies and other interested stakeholders, the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute (UMDI) and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) – both  under contract to MassDOT – developed, tested and refined a variety of methods and assumptions about the components of socio-economic changes occurring throughout Massachusetts now and over the next 20 years. UMDI’s work focused on population change (including birth, death, and migration rates) as well as employment trends and projections. MAPC’s work focused on housing growth and changes to the labor force.


With additional assistance from the Central Transportation Planning Staff (CTPS) and the regional planning agencies (RPAs), the Projections Committee held many discussions and debates on statewide and regional demographic trends, labor force availability and participation, historical unemployment rates, commuting patterns and more to develop projections by region and community for each decade out to 2040. While other growth scenarios are possible and may be explored elsewhere, these figures – presented here in the form of spreadsheets (excel and pdf), along with detailed documentation (pdf) – represent an average spring/fall condition and a common, integrated, shared-trends set that is used for travel forecasting, air quality conformity requirements, and “backdrop” conditions/projections for all the regional transportation plans.

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