This is somewhat scary news. Not just for Berkshire County residents but for all Massachusetts residents in general. New research indicates the strong possibility that 11 towns in the Commonwealth could eventually become ghost towns.

WBEC FM logo
Get our free mobile app

According to an in-depth study conducted by researchers at the Department of Civil, Materials, and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois Chicago, Massachusetts will be the victim of serious downsizing by the turn of the century.

The study, published earlier this year on, essentially concludes that by the year 2100, half of the cities in the United States (eleven cities in Massachusetts alone) could be in jeopardy of a major population decline.

And, out of those eleven Massachusetts cities, three of them are located here in Berkshire County. Give that thought some consideration. Eleven Massachusetts towns will be losing approximately one-quarter of their population.

Before we delve any further into the study, let's first examine what causes population decline. Well, several events can lead to a decline in population numbers ranging from high mortality rates, low birth rates, and continuous emigration to big events such as famine or some kind of viral outbreak.

Sadly, most of the cities set to potentially lose major populations are located in either Franklin County or Berkshire County. Outside of a few areas in and around Cape Cod, all of the towns are here in Western Massachusetts.

According to the report, here are the 11 Massachusetts cities that could see major population declines of more than 25% by the end of the century:

  1. Millers Falls/Northfield (2-way tie for #1)
  2. Northfield/Millers Falls (2-way tie for #1)
  3. Greenfield
  4. Orange
  5. Williamstown
  6. Lee
  7. Pittsfield
  8. East Dennis
  9. Chatham
  10. Shelburne Falls/West Falmouth (2-way tie for #10)
  11. West Falmouth/Shelburne Falls (2-way tie for #10)

Take a look at the full study (which is pretty fascinating) by visiting Nature's website here. You may want to set aside some time, though. As I mentioned, it's pretty in-depth. But certainly well worth it.

LOOK: States With the Most New Small Businesses Per Capita

To find the top 20 states with the most new small businesses per capita, Simply Business analyzed the Census Bureau’s Business Formation Statistics from August 2020 to July 2021.

Gallery Credit: Eliza Siegel

LOOK: Here are the 50 best beach towns in America

Every beach town has its share of pluses and minuses, which got us thinking about what makes a beach town the best one to live in. To find out, Stacker consulted data from WalletHub, released June 17, 2020, that compares U.S. beach towns. Ratings are based on six categories: affordability, weather, safety, economy, education and health, and quality of life. The cities ranged in population from 10,000 to 150,000, but they had to have at least one local beach listed on TripAdvisor. Read the full methodology here. From those rankings, we selected the top 50. Readers who live in California and Florida will be unsurprised to learn that many of towns featured here are in one of those two states.

Keep reading to see if your favorite beach town made the cut.

Gallery Credit: Keri Wiginton

LOOK: Here is the richest town in each state

Just saying the names of these towns immediately conjures up images of grand mansions, luxury cars, and ritzy restaurants. Read on to see which town in your home state took the title of the richest location and which place had the highest median income in the country. Who knows—your hometown might even be on this list.

Gallery Credit: Meagan Drillinger

The 100 Best Places to Live on the East Coast

More From WBEC FM