Town may add voting precinct
By Laura Hayes, Senior Community Reporter
SHREWSBURY — Census data from 2020 indicates that Shrewsbury has become more diverse since 2010.
Town Manager Kevin Mizikar presented data during an Aug. 24 Board of Selectmen meeting.
“Very strikingly and exciting to share that the diversity in the community has increased over the last 10 years quite substantially,” Mizikar said.
The largest racial subgroup that saw an increase since 2010 was the number of residents who identify as Asian.
According to Mizikar’s presentation, that group increased by 61 percent and now represents 24.6 percent of Shrewsbury’s population.
Additionally, people who identify as Hispanic or Latino increased by 56 percent, while people who identify as two or more races grew by 63 percent. The amount of residents who identify as Black or African American increased by 14 percent.
The number of people who identify as some other race decreased by 38 percent.
The number of residents who identify as white alone has decreased by 17 percent since 2010, though Mizikar said it is still Shrewsbury’s largest racial group at 63.3 percent of residents.
According to Mizikar’s presentation, Shrewsbury’s population grew by just under 3,000 people over the past 10 years to a total population of 38,325.
He said the town’s growth was average within Massachusetts.
As the town comes close to a population of 40,000, Mizikar said Shrewsbury may need to add an additional voting precinct.
Vice Chair John LeBeaux said the increase may affect Shrewsbury’s representation in the state.
“That’s a whole new wrinkle that we’ve never had to deal with before,” LeBeaux said.
The selectmen recently penned a letter, advocating for the town to stay represented by one senator and one representative.
The town has received some breakdown of the population change data by age group. Mizikar’s presentation reported that the number of people 65 and older has grown by 24 percent since 2010.
However, the number of people under the age of 18 has decreased by 10 percent. Further, the amount of people under the age of five has dropped by 17 percent.
Selectman Maurice DePalo said it was interesting that the population under five decreased. He said the school population stayed even over this period of time.
“So, how is that even possible?” DePalo asked.
Mizikar suggested that it could be attributed to responses, adding that he thought Shrewsbury’s population would have grown more.
“It’s only as good as the data submitted. That’s why it’s so important for everyone to respond,” Mizikar said.
Chair John Samia said it would be interesting to see data of the migration of certain age groups out of town, particularly as the town discusses its strategic plan, housing and efforts to provide opportunities for Shrewsbury community members.
He asked that the selectmen receive additional reports as the data is released and “sliced and diced.”