We’ve changed our name . . . we are now the Granite Institute!
Today, the U.S. Census Bureau released their first post-census population estimates by state. Overall, New Hampshire is showing healthy growth due to the natural increase in population (births minus deaths) of 3,017 people. This is vital to long-term, sustainable population growth. In start contrast, neighboring Maine’s net natural increase was a mere 180 people.
The downside was that New Hampshire’s net domestic migration (migration between states) was -2,763 which likely reflects the lingering woes in the housing market, especially in Massachusetts where much of New Hampshire’s in-migration has historically come from. That decline was partially mitigated by an influx of 1,165 international migrants.
Overall, despite the aging demographics in New Hampshire, it is encouraging to see a healthy positive number in the net natural change column. Still, New Hampshire net natural increase (as a percent of population) is about half the national average so there is still some work to do in terms of keeping and attracting young families to the Granite State. If only right-to-work had passed . . .
Today, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released their 2009 estimates of taxpayer migration. This is important because people “voting with their feet” is a barometer of the health of a state’s economy (and thus, of public policy).
The chart below shows the net migration in New Hampshire of taxpayers (a good proxy for households), exemptions (a good proxy for people) and adjusted gross income (a good proxy for household income).
Since 2006, both households and people are showing net out-migration. For the first time over the 1995 to 2009 time-period, income has gone negative as well. This net out-migration will create headwinds for the New Hampshire economy.
However, it is interesting to note that this net out-migration trend is not being driven by more households leaving New Hampshire. In fact, the number of out-migrant households has dropped since 2006.
Rather, the number of in-migrating households has dramatically declined. From 1995 to 2005, the average number of in-migrating households was 22,905. From 2006 to 2009, the average number of in-migrating households was 19,311–a decline of 3,594 households.
As such, this net out-migration data is less a reflection of New Hampshire’s economy as it is a reflection of the Massachusetts economy since the majority of New Hampshire’s in-migration has historically been from the Bay State.
More specifically, the state of the housing market. The Boston housing market was one of the first in the country to go into recession. Since fewer people were able to sell their homes, then there were fewer people capable of relocating to New Hampshire.
Still, there are too many people deciding to leave New Hampshire. As our previous research has shown, New Hampshire suffers from a persistent net out-migration of people to right-to-work states. With right-to-work, New Hampshire could keep more of its own residents home.
So if you live in a district where your Representative voted against the recent right-to-work veto over-ride, you may want to ask them what their plan is to keep New Hampshire residents from leaving for greener, right-to-work pastures.