New Hampshire’s Population Stalling and Aging

Recently the U.S. Census Bureau released their updated intercensal state population estimates by age and race. These new estimates account for the new population counts as determined by the 2010 population census. There are two items that I found of interest in the new data.

First, overall population in New Hampshire, as shown in the first chart below, has stalled out since 2008. Also shown in the first chart is the median age which is soaring. In 2000 the median age was 37.2 years but has increased by 11 percent to 41.1 years in 2010.

Second, the composition of New Hampshire’s population by age cohort, as shown in the second chart below, shows shrinking numbers of  young people and growing numbers of retired people.

Between 2000 and 2010, the number of people under the age of 18 dropped by 8 percent to 286,836 from 310,390. This is somewhat misleading since the drop is actually greater because the drop did not begin  until 2002 when the under 18 population peaked at 312,719.

At the same time, the number of people over the age of 65 increased by 20 percent to 178,625 from 148,468.

Overall, this is a very disturbing picture of New Hampshire’s demographics. Without strong in-migration from other states, New Hampshire’s future workforce will be smaller and older which will create formidable headwinds in the effort to generate sustainable economic growth.