Boston Federal Reserve Bank: Northern New England’s Demographics – Immigration’s Mitigating Effects

On July 17, 2019, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston published Aging and Declining Populations in Northern New England:  Is there a Role for Immigration?  It’s an interesting (and fairly quick) read.   Some takeaway quotes:

  • Maine is projected to have more residents aged 65 or older than residents under the age of 18 by 2020, which is 15 years earlier than the entire country is expected to hit that benchmark, according to a 2018 report by the US Census Bureau. By 2030, 28 percent of Maine’s population will be 65 or older—up from just 16 percent in 2010; no other state’s population will have a higher share of older residents. Across the country, only 20 percent of the population will be in this age group.
  • Between 1990 and 2017, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont together added nearly 60,000 immigrants, a growth rate of 63 percent, while the size of the native-born population increased by less than 12 percent. In seven of ten recent years (2009 through 2018), New England’s population would have shrunk or failed to grow without the addition of immigrants. As natural increase continues to decline, immigration is expected to become the primary contributor to national population growth after 2030.
  • In communities with a relatively small youth population…., immigration accounted for 29.2 percent of all population growth. For communities with both a small senior population and a small youth population, immigration accounted for more than 40 percent of growth…..The towns that were shrinking—municipalities in the bottom quintile of native-born growth saw their population decline by 11.5 percent on average—had their population losses modestly offset by an increase in the size of their immigrant population. (Examples include Calais, Maine, and Brattleboro, Vermont).
  • Northern New England, even more so than the rest of the country, depends increasingly on immigration to sustain population growth in the face of a declining birth rate. The town-level analysis in this brief suggests that immigrants who have come to the region in recent decades have not joined just the larger, younger, and thriving communities; they also have settled in smaller towns and contributed to the growth of the population in those municipalities……Increased levels of immigration, though not currently part of the federal policy conversation, could help to slow if not stop population decline in northern New England.

You can find the report here.