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Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners Resource Guide Collection

Census 2020 in Massachusetts: Hard to Count and Hard to Survey Communities

Hard to Count Communities

There are many communities in Massachusetts that are designated as hard-to-count. The Hard-to-count designation is determined by a low response rate to the 2010 Census and other surveys.

A map of Massachusetts with hard to count areas

According to Census Hard to Count Maps 2020,  78.9% of the state's households mailed back their questionnaire, requiring more costly and difficult in-person follow up from the Census Bureau to count the remaining 21.1% .

An estimated 23% of Massachusetts's current population (or 1,590,870 people) lives in hard-to-count neighborhoods. According to the latest American Community Survey estimates in 2017, 14.3% of Massachusetts's households had either no internet subscription or dial-up only.

Those at risk of being undercounted include: 

  • people of color
  • immigrants 
  • people experiencing homelessness
  • children under 5
  • renters
  • crowded households and people living in multi-family housing 
  • single parent households
  • low income populations
  • populations with limited English proficiency 
  • college students


Organizations working with Hard to Count populations

State Level

Federal Level 



Communities Identified as Hard to Count

From the Mass Nonprofit Network, a list of hard to count cities and towns

  • Boston
  • Brockton 
  • Chelsea
  • Everett
  • Holyoke 
  • Lowell 
  • Lynn
  • Malden 
  • Quincy 
  • Revere 
  • Springfield 
  • Worcester