I am trying to digest the new census data for the Town of Dennis. There seems to be more going on than the numbers that have been released might suggest. For instance, Dennis lost 1,766 people during the decade. However, we added 1,481 housing units. Occupied housing units dropped by 576 units, a full 7.7% of occupied housing units in 2000. In 2000, we had 580 year-round housing units vacant, essentially we have doubled this figure before taking into account the housing units added in the past decade.
All of this has led to significant “gloom and doom” discussions. However, an article in The Atlantic caught my eye. The article suggests that population drop is not the sole arbiter of the economic health of an area. The article even suggests that the areas with rapid population growth had slower growth and even declines in their local economies. The article provides something to digest. Granted, Massachusetts falls into an area with both slow population growth and a slow economic growth. However, not too far away, Rhode Island showed that it is possible to have slow population growth and a higher than average economic growth. I am going to try to look more closely at this article and the factors used to see how Dennis might fare.