(The Center Square) – The latest U.S. Census Bureau statistics published Thursday paint a picture of New Hampshire as a state facing an uncertain demographic future amid an influx of in-migrants juxtaposed against an aging population.
The newest data, which covers the period from July 2018 to July 2019, shows that Granite Staters continue to be an aging population. With a median age of 43.1 years, the median resident of New Hampshire is now two years older than in 2010 (41.1 years). This is also five years older than the national median age; the median age for Americans is 38.4 years.
“New Hampshire should be very concerned,” said J. Scott Moody of the Granite Institute, a public policy organization. “Demographers have a term they’ve coined called ‘demographic winter’ to describe rapidly aging populations around the world. … Northern New England is ground zero for America’s ‘demographic winter.'”
Moody said the aging population is going to have dramatic consequences for the economy. Chief among these is the fact that an older population means that there will be fewer people in the workforce.
“We are almost at the point where there are fewer overall people under the age of 18 than there are people over the age of 65,” he said.
Fewer workers also means fewer consumers. This will not only impact the revenues of private businesses, but will also impact the tax revenue for the state.
“Ultimately, everyone is going to have to buckle their belts a little tighter,” Moody said.
Despite the aging trend, which tends to lead to fewer births, the state's population is growing thanks to an influx of in-migrants, particularly from the Boston metro area.
“We just rebuilt I-93, and I think for the last decade this has been a bottleneck for people. … I think this is going to boost in-migration to New Hampshire over the coming years,” he said.
To Greg Moore, director of the New Hampshire chapter of Americans For Prosperity, that in-migration points to New Hampshire being a desirable place to live. He pointed out that about a third of Granite Staters were not born in New Hampshire, and he said the lack of a state income and sales tax is extremely attractive to people looking to move.
“Last year added approximately another 6,200 residents – that’s not nothing – considering that last year we had more deaths than births,” Moore said.
He said that unlike neighboring Maine, New Hampshire still attracts the 20- to 40-year-old demographic looking for work,
“Over the decade, the state has grown by over 43,000 people," he said. "If you look at the age cohorts, [you’ll see] everything under the age of 18 – [these] numbers are dropping. But then I look between the ages of 20 and 40.”
Moore explained that the latter group is crucial to the labor force, and in New Hampshire, these numbers are booming. Between 2010-19, that age bracket grew by about 39,000 residents.