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Census figures: Carroll County home to oldest residents in the state; NH second-oldest overall

New Hampshire Union Leader

July 10. 2017 11:34PM

About this series
Silver Linings is a continuing Union Leader/Sunday news report focusing on the issues of New Hampshire’s aging population and seeking out solutions.

Union Leader reporter Gretchen Grosky would like to hear from readers about issues related to aging. She can be reached at or (603) 206-7739.

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If you’re looking for the Fountain of Youth, you probably won’t find it in Ossipee. Carroll County is home to the oldest residents in a state with the second-oldest population in the country, according to recent estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Census estimates show Carroll’s median age has grown to 51.9 years, meaning half of the county’s 47,289 residents were older than 51.9 and half were younger on July 1, 2016. The median age has jumped 3.5 years since 2010 and is 8.9 years higher than the state’s estimated median age of 43 years.

Carroll County Administrator Kenneth Robichaud attributes the trend to the growing number of people in their 40s, 50s and 60s picking the White Mountains and Lakes Region as their place to retire.

“Almost 100 percent has been due to migration into the state,” he said. “That’s what I think is driving the silver tsunami here.”

Strafford County — home to Dover, Rochester and Durham — remains the state’s youngest county, but its median age also increased — from 36.9 in 2011 to 37.1 in 2016.

The Census figures released last week show New Hampshire has maintained the second top spot for oldest population.

Maine leads the country, with a median age of 44.6 years old. Vermont, which has been either tied or slightly ahead of New Hampshire since 2011, had the third highest median age at 42.7 years.

These recent figures also show New Hampshire is continuing to lose its youthful population at a rapid rate.

Of the estimated 1.33 million people in New Hampshire, 260,585 are 18 or younger, according to the Census results, a drop of 20,209 youngsters since 2011.

In comparison, the number of those 65 and older grew from 184,048 in 2011 to 226,804 in 2016, according to the Census figures.

This trend is expected to continue, according to the New Hampshire Office of Energy and Planning, which projects that the numbers of those over the age of 65 will nearly double to 408,522 by 2040, while the number of those younger than 15 will decline from 232,182 (2010) to 214,819 in 2040.

The office attributes the decline in youth to the dropping fertility rate among the millennial generation.

According to the Census report, every state’s median age stayed the same or climbed between 2015 and 2016 and the country’s median age is now 37.9 years.

The number of residents 65 and older grew from 35 million in 2000 to 49.2 million in 2016.

“The baby-boom generation is largely responsible for this trend,” said Peter Borsella, a demographer in the U.S. Census Population Division. “Baby boomers began turning 65 in 2011 and will continue to do so for many years to come.”

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