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New Hampshire’s population has been growing slowly, or not at all, for the past decade or so. But Ken Johnson, the state’s demography guru, says that is slightly misleading. Here’s an email he sent me about his latest research:

Of all the things about NH demographic situation, I think this may be the least appreciated.  It is easy to assume that because the state is growing so slowly, that the same people are here that were here five years ago—that NH is a sleeply little state where the same folks have been here forever.  

Yet this graphic demonstrates that although the overall growth of the NH population has been modest. There has been a substantial change in who is actually in NH.

In five years, 244,000 moved in to NH from other states and 214,000 left NH for other U.S. destinations. The net change of 30,000 may seem modest, but it is the result of 450,000 moves. In addition, there have been 61,000 births and 58,000 deaths. And, a net gain of 16,000 immigrants.

That is an awful lot of turnover in a state of just 1,350,000!

According to new research released by the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire, only 42% of the state residents were born in New Hampshire, far less than for New England (58%) or the United States (59%).

Population growth has recently started to increase after a decline during the recession and its aftermath. The state’s population grew by more than 7,000 annually between 2016 and 2018, and most of the gain resulted from more people moving to the state from other U.S. destinations. Immigration also contributed to the gain. In contrast, the excess of births over deaths has diminished so much that its contribution to population gain is now minimal.   

“The future economic and social well-being of New Hampshire communities depends on their ability to anticipate change and respond appropriately,” said Johnson. “This analysis of how the state’s population is growing and changing can help to inform policy and contribute to the efforts of policymakers, nonprofits and businesses to consider the future needs of the state’s people, institutions and organizations.”

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