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Making It Count

In a seasonal community, with a population that changes over the months, weeks or even days, it was impossible to make meaningful decisions without having concrete data. Knowing how many people are present on the island is essential if social services is to be right-sized, infrastructure planning is accurate, and solid waste flows can be understood and predicted. In the absence of reliable data analytics, too many critical questions are answered with anecdotes.


That discussion launched the Nantucket Data Platform, an energetic collaboration between data scientists, demographers, data visualizers and writers, supported by local leaders from businesses, nonprofits and government. Remain Nantucket became the new business’s first client as they spent a year working on two seemingly simple questions: What is the island’s population and who are these folks? The result was a report published in 2018 called Making It Count.


The NDP estimated in 2018 that the real number of permanent residents on Nantucket was 17,200, compared to the US Census Bureau’s estimate of 11,229. In addition to permanent residents, Nantucket also has seasonal residents, who added about 11,000 people during warmer months, and seasonal workers, who numbered around 6,590 residents in July. Nantucket attracts visitors from all 50 states, with visitors coming from 3,300 Zip Codes domestically.


The report from July 2018 can be found here.


Making It Count, A Data-Driven Look at Nantucket’s Dynamic Population