Overheard the other day in a Cape Cod pharmacy line: “Oh, Mashpee? That’s a tiny town. Hardly anybody lives there.”
While this might have been true 50 years ago, in 1970, when the town had about 1,300 residents—after growing from 348 people a full century before—Mashpee today is not the tiny town the misinformed commenter said it is.
According to the US Census Bureau, as of July 2019, Mashpee had an estimated year-round resident population of 14,148.
This puts Mashpee 140th of 351 towns and cities in Massachusetts and in the top 39th percentile in the state by population. In other words, about 61 percent of towns are smaller than Mashpee.
That is hardly “hardly anybody.”
Yes, our nearest neighbors are all larger towns—Barnstable has 44,406 people, Falmouth has 31,124, Sandwich has 20,286 and Bourne has 19,381—and the largest three cities statewide are much larger: Boston (684,379), Worcester (185,143) and Springfield (154,139).
But three of the smallest towns are not far away from us: the Martha’s Vineyard towns of Chilmark (1,222) and Aquinnah (531) as well as the state’s smallest town, Gosnold, which encompasses the Elizabeth Islands and has 49 residents.
Very close to Mashpee on the population list is Dennis with 13,939 people, as well as the off-Cape towns East Bridgewater, Hanover and Raynham, each with more than 14,000 residents.
Also close on this list is the central Massachusetts town of Uxbridge (13,993 people), the hometown of our newest Mashpee and regional reporter, Ian Vescera. Welcome to the Upper Cape, Ian!
Hardly anybody indeed!