The Boston Globe’s Samantha Gross attended a fundraiser for far-right gubernatorial candidate Geoff Diehl and has written a highly entertaining report. I think we can all agree that we’ve had more than enough of Ernie Boch Jr., who hosted the event. But there’s one piece of Gross’ story that I want to pick up on — the presence of South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, who wants us to know that her tiny state is growing.
“She shook hands, posed for photos, and touted South Dakota’s low unemployment rate and population growth in a speech to attendees inside Boch’s ‘auto salon,’” writes Gross. Later in the story comes this:
“The states aren’t as different as you’d think,” Diehl said, referring to ruby red South Dakota. “The big difference is their state is actually gaining population. I want to make sure we catch up to what they are doing as far as listening to people and deliver for the state of Massachusetts.”
Well, then. According to U.S. Census data, the population of South Dakota grew between 2010 and 2020 from 814,180 to 886,667, an increase of 72,487, or 8.9%. Impressive! But Massachusetts, starting from a far larger base, added 482,342 people over the same time period, growing from 6,547,629 to 7,029,917, or 7.4%. In other words, South Dakota added a Framingham. Massachusetts added more than two and a half Worcesters. (According to Census estimates, we did experience a slight blip downward between 2020 and 2021, but it’s hard to know how seriously to take that given it was in the midst of the pandemic. Even if it’s accurate, our population is still much higher than it was in 2010.)
No big deal (see what I did there?) if Noem doesn’t understand that Massachusetts is growing. But what’s Geoff Diehl’s excuse?