About the Region

The Partnership’s service area consists of 36 municipalities, which are home to approximately 1 in 10 residents of Massachusetts, 1 in every 10 jobs in Massachusetts, and 1 in every 10 payroll dollars. The region's annual payroll is approximately $28.5 billion. The Partnership’s service area has added four communities since its initial founding, demonstrating the success of our regional identity and organizational accomplishments, and reflecting our communities’ economic success and desirability.

The Partnership serves as an invaluable coordinating entity and advocacy voice for these 36 municipalities, who share many common traits, strengths, and challenges, but which are otherwise divided by county, Congressional District, planning council, RTA and Chamber of Commerce service area, and watershed. On the periphery of the Boston area but not quite Central Massachusetts, indeed an original impetus for the Partnership’s founding was the need for a unified voice for this unique region, and a vehicle to overcome jurisdictional boundaries.
  • The 495/MetroWest region’s population increased by 49% between 1970 and 2020, compared to 24% statewide. 

  • The unemployment rate in the 495/MetroWest region has been consistently lower than the statewide rate since 1990.

  • Industry clusters with higher job concentration in the region than the state or nation include IT and Analytics, Biopharmaceuticals, and Medical Devices.

  • The region continues to specialize in IT and Analytics; the region is over five times more specialized in this field than the nation, with a location quotient of 5.3 (location quotient quantifies how concentrated a particular industry is in a region as compared to the nation; a location quotient above 1.0 means the region has a proportionally higher concentration of employment in that sector).

  • Two industry clusters with a relatively high concentration of jobs in the region experienced substantial growth between 2010 and 2018: Business Services (28.4% growth) and Medical Devices (52.2% growth).

  • The region continues to be a net importer of labor, with more workers commuting into the region than commuting out of the region.
  • The region has become increasingly more diverse over time, with the percentage of residents who identify as White dropping from 84% in 2010 to 73% in 2020. 2020 Census data showed an increase in 495/MetroWest residents identifying as Asian (10%), Latino (6.7%), Black (2.43%), and Multi-Racial/ Two or More Races (5.39%).

  • The region has high levels of educational attainment: 59.3% of residents 25 years of age or older in the region hold a Bachelor’s Degree or higher, compared with 44.9% statewide. 27.8% have attained a Graduate or Professional Degree, compared to 20.3% statewide.

  • 96% of the region’s housing units are occupied; the implied vacancy rate of 4% is lower than what is considered healthy for residential churn (7%).
  • 75% of housing units in 495/MetroWest are owner-occupied, compared with 62% statewide. 65% of housing units in 495/MetroWest are detached single family homes, compared with 52% of housing units across Massachusetts. Nearly one-quarter of homeowners and 47% of renters in the region are cost-burdened.

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