Thursday, December 16, 2010

Amherst youngest locale in Commonwealth: "a town of bachelors and bachelorettes"; "a lot of hipsters going around"

Yup, the Boston Globe actually calls us, "a town of bachelors and bachelorettes."  For a moment, I thought, where am I: in a time warp, on a '60s game show? Then I realized that the writers were just being ironic and campy.  The serious lead of the story was that, according to the new census figures, two towns, both in western Massachusetts, and both of whose names begin with "A" are at the opposite ends of the demographic scale: with a median age of 21, Amherst is the youngest, and Alford, the oldest.

The population of Alford is only 507:
But it has retirees, and it has them in spades, town officials said, giving Alford the oldest median age in the state, 60.5.

The median age in Massachusetts is 38.5 years, according to census data released yesterday.

“The age of the existing residents is older,’’ said Charles Ketchen, 66, chairman of the Alford Board of Selectmen.
Of course that sounds like cheating (and bad science) to me. "[E]xisting residents"?? Even here, in quirky Amherst, we still count only the living. Otherwise, we sure as hell wouldn't be the youngest town.
With students from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst College, and Hampshire College making up about one-third of the town’s population, and many young families choosing to settle in the area, it comes as no great shock that the median age skews young, said John Musante, Amherst town manager.

The town does make an effort to cater to a broad range of ages, though, with restaurants and museums meant for young and old, he said.

“It’s no surprise, I guess, that we would fall into that category,’’ Musante said. “We’re a vibrant college community.’’

Though, at 48, “I didn’t contribute to that stat,’’ he added, laughing.
The accompanying links are provide a wealth of data, and the accompanying video is a hoot.  An interviewer asks passers-by in Boston which Bay State locale has the most unmarried men and women.  Some of the reactions—once respondents learn, to their surprise, that we are the singles capital of the Commonwealth:
• "Tells me that they should get out more?"

• "Move to Boston, maybe, and they wouldn't be single anymore?"

• Q:  "Are you single yourself?"
  A: "No."
  Q: "Okay, so, do you plan on moving to Amherst anytime soon?"
  A: "No." (laughing)
At least she didn't say it was because of the cannibals (though it turned out that the movie got made in Greenfield, in any case).

But enjoy and judge for yourself.

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