Demographics and Diversity

The MetroWest region is home to more than 3 million residents, with small but fast-growing minority groups, a high proportion of foreign-born residents in some local areas, and an overall aging population. Demographic trends are important to understand because they impact the economy, health care needs and outcomes, what services government and nonprofits provide, and many other local and national concerns.

"MetroWest" is not a formal set of government boundaries, but a name adopted for a set of communities lying west of Boston. Different groups have their own definitions of what is included, but our definition of MetroWest encompasses 39 cities and towns: Acton, Ashland, Bedford, Bellingham, Boxborough, Carlisle, Concord, Dedham, Dover, Framingham, Franklin, Groton, Harvard, Holliston, Hopkinton, Hudson, Lexington, Lincoln, Littleton, Marlborough, Maynard, Medfield, Medway, Milford, Millis, Natick, Needham, Sherborn, Southborough, Stow, Sudbury, Walpole, Waltham, Wayland, Wellesley, Westborough, Westford, Weston, and Westwood.

Though Framingham, with 73,000 people, and Waltham, with 63,000, are the largest localities in MetroWest, they are not the fastest growing: Hopkinton, Boxborough and Littleton all grew more than 25% between 2000 and 2018.

Waltham, Framingham, Lexington and Westborough are all centers of diversity and immigration, with foreign-born residents making up between 27-28% of the population. Immigration is a driver of population growth and the diversity of these communities likely reflects a welcoming climate while also pointing to the need to continue to engage diverse populations in local government and decision-making.

The region’s population overall has grown 10% since 2000, similar to the state but below the national rate of growth (16%). Growth was fastest among Asian residents (105%), African Americans (95%) and Hispanics (92%), though the region as a whole remained majority white (78%).

Overall, 18% of the region’s population was foreign-born and 23% spoke a foreign language at home – both a bit higher than state and national rates and up since 2000.

Like the state and nation, the region’s population is aging, with the fastest growing group being people ages 60-84. This group increased in size by 37% from 2000 to 2014-18, illustrating the need for robust social and health related support services for aging residents to live in their homes or have access to affordable alternatives and care. The population between 20 and 39 has increased by 7% nationally, but decreased by 1% in MetroWest.

The percentage of residents over 65 living alone is 39%, consistent with state and national rates. 

Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Children Living in Poverty Increasing
Children Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Single-Parent Families Increasing
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Disengaged Youth Decreasing
Reports of Domestic Violence Maintaining
Arts, Entertainment and Recreation Establishments Increasing
Households Without Vehicles Maintaining
Means of Transportation to Work Not Applicable
Average Travel Time to Work Increasing
Households With Internet Access Not Applicable
Voter Participation Rate Decreasing
Average Charitable Contribution Maintaining
Protected Land Not Applicable
Drug Poisoning Mortality Rate Increasing
Crimes Against People Decreasing
Incarceration Rates, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Change in Total Population Increasing
Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Foreign-Born Population Increasing
Language Diversity Increasing
Population by Age Not Applicable
Change in Population by Age/Gender Not Applicable
Seniors Living Alone Decreasing
People with Disabilities Maintaining
Change in Total Jobs by Sector Not Applicable
Unemployment Rate Maintaining
Average Salary by Sector Not Applicable
High-Tech Jobs Decreasing
Female to Male Earnings Ratio Maintaining
Prekindergarten Participation Increasing
Student Performance on Grade 3 English, by Student Subgroup Not Applicable
Chronically Absent Students Decreasing
High School Cohort Graduation Rate by Student Group Increasing
Education Levels of Adults Not Applicable
Education Levels of Adults, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
People Living in Poverty Increasing
People Living in Poverty, by Education Level Not Applicable
People Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Household Receiving Temporary Assistance Maintaining
Participation in Food Assistance by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Median Household Income Maintaining
Median Household Income, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Living Wage Not Applicable
80/20 Income Ratio Maintaining
Access to Financial Services, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Homeownership Rates Increasing
Homeownership Rates, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Cost of Homeownership Increasing
Cost of Rent Not Applicable
Homelessness Increasing