New Hampshire’s Population Grows by 1,387 People in 2011

Table Showing New Hampshire's Population Growth 2010 to 2011

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 . . .

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.