Study: If it wasn’t for people moving here (especially from Massachusetts), New Hampshire would be shrinking

Ken Johnson, UNH—Courtesy

By DAVID BROOKS

Monitor staff

Published: 10-30-2023 2:02 PM

The latest chapter in New Hampshire demographics reads like the other chapters over the past half-decade: More people are dying here than are being born, with the difference made up by people moving here from out of state.

As often as not, “from out of state” means “from Massachusetts.”

The latest update from Ken Johnson, senior demographer at the Carsey School of Public Policy at UNH, says that deaths outnumbered births in New Hampshire in 2021 and 2022, continuing a trend that began in 2017. New Hampshire is one of the oldest states in the country, meaning we have a relative shortage of women of child-bearing age and a lot of elderly residents.

In those two years, more people died (28,700) than were born (24,900) in the state but 18,300 more people moved into New Hampshire than moved out, giving us an overall population gain of about one-tenth of a percent.

Johnson said about 44% of the new migrants in 2021 and 2022 came from Massachusetts, with another 8% from Maine and Vermont. Most of the rest came from throughout the country, with about 7% of people moving here from overseas.

This pattern has gone on long enough that the majority of New Hampshire is “from away,” to use a colloquialism. In data terms, only about 41% of Granite State residents were born in the state.

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“Attracting migrants and retaining residents have important implications for the state’s future population, labor force, and economy as well as for the people, communities, and organizations that make New Hampshire a desirable place to live, work, and raise families,” Johnson wrote.