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. The region's annual payroll is approximately $25.2 billion. The Partnership’s service area has added 4 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 44.4% between 1970 and 2018, compared to 20.1% statewide. The region’s population growth continued to outpace the state’s between 2010 and 2018, increasing by 5.7% compared to 4.3% for Massachusetts

  • 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

  • Pre-COVID, a large volume of people traveled in and out of the region for work on a daily basis, greatly contributing to traffic congestion. Over 190,000 workers who live within the region were commuting elsewhere for employment, with over 207,000 workers living elsewhere commuting into the region

  • The approximately 122,000 people who both live and work within 495/MetroWest also contributed to pre-COVID road congestion due to the large geographic area that comprises the region

  • Nearly one-quarter of homeowners and 45% of renters in the region are cost-burdened

  • 95.4% of the region’s housing units are occupied; the implied vacancy rate of 4.6% is lower than what is considered healthy for residential churn (7.0%)

  • Demographically, the region continues to change; the share of individuals who identify as Asian more than doubled between 2000 and 2018, from 3.5% to 8.9%

  • During the same time period, the naturalized citizen share of the population nearly doubled, from 4.1% to 8.1%