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N.H. population continues very slow growth, but much faster than Maine or Vermont



Monitor staff
Saturday, December 24, 2016

The population of New Hampshire grew very little last year, according to the latest estimates from the Census Bureau, although we’re doing much better than Vermont and Maine.

State-by-state estimates released Tuesday said New Hampshire had 1,334,795 people as of July 1, one-third of one percent higher than the population estimate at the same time in 2015.

The state’s population gain came both from having more births than deaths last year and from international immigration.

However, New Hampshire lost people to other states, a pattern called domestic migration. This is an important point because domestic migration was a major part of New Hampshire’s population boost in the early 2000s.

Northern New England as a whole is seeing a population dearth.

The new estimate says Maine had a natural decrease – more deaths than births – and is the only state other than West Virginia where that has happened four years in a row.

“Maine has one of the oldest populations in the U.S. and among the lowest fertility rates,” said Ken Johnson, professor of sociology at UNH and senior demographer at the Carsey School of Public Policy. Maine population grew slightly because of domestic migration. 

In 2015, New Hampshire population passed that of Maine for the first time since the Census of 1890. That gap is growing: New Hampshire now has about 3,500 more people than the Pine Tree State.

Vermont, the second-smallest state in the country in terms of population, was hit hard by domestic migration and its overall population declined a quarter of a percentage point, according to the estimate. Only West Virginia had a larger population loss last year.

Massachusetts also saw outward domestic migration but its population grew 0.41 percent because of more births than deaths and international migration.

In overall trends, population grew in the West and the South by slightly more than 1 percent, while the Northeast grew by a minuscule 0.04 percent and the Midwest grew by just 0.15 percent.

Overall, the U.S. population grew 0.7 percent from 2015 to 2016, totaling a little over 323 million, according to the estimate.