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May 13. 2011 11:00PM

Census: New Hampshire population aging, growing

The latest round of data released from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that New Hampshire’s population is growing — and graying.

The data, released Thursday as part of the ‘Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010’ report, shows that the overall population in the state rose 6.5 percent from 2000 to 2010, for a total of 1.3 million residents. That gives the state the distinction of being the fastest-growing state in the region over that time frame.

The data also shows it’s now considered one of the oldest, with New Hampshire’s median age jumping from 37 to 41 - a full two trips around the sun older than the median age for neighboring Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and one year older than Connecticut. Maine, with a median age of 42, remains the lone New England state to date older than New Hampshire (census data for Vermont has yet to be released).

The data shows that fewer babies were born in New Hampshire from 2000 to 2010 than in the 1990s, Those figures contribute to the jump in median age, but younger residents leaving the state played a larger part.

The census report states that records show there were close to 93,000 New Hampshire residents between the ages of 10 and 14 in 2000. Numbers from the 2010 census show that figures for that age group, now aged 20 to 24, dropped to 84,500 - a loss of 8,500 residents, likely due to migration to other states.

Kenneth Johnson, senior demographer at UNH’s Carsey Institute, said that the drop in twenty-something residents could result in problems for the state’s labor force in the years to come.

“While there was a trend towards losing people in their 20s, the state did enjoy a significant influx of residents in their 30s and 40s, who are in their prime years in the labor force,” said Johnson. “If the trend of losing people were to continue, down the road it could put pressure on the younger brackets of the labor force, but we’re just going to have to see what happens as the recession diminishes.”

The census shows that New Hampshire’s minority populations grew over the last decade, but the number of minority residents remains low when compared to the overall population. Though the state’s Hispanic or Latino population jumped by close to 80 percent, the Asian population rose by 76 percent and the number of African-Americans climbed 66 percent, the state remains 93.8 percent white (down from 96 percent in 2000).


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