Demographic Winter Arrives in Three New Hampshire Counties

April 5, 2012

Today the U.S. Census Bureau released new population data for New Hampshire by county (xls) between July 1, 2010 and July 1, 2011.  We’ve been talking about Demographic Winter for some time now, but it no longer a hypothetical for some counties in New Hampshire.

As shown in the table below, three counties now have negative natural population growth (births minus deaths) including: Belknap (-99), Carroll (-113), and Coos (-120). Additionally, two other counties are dangerously close to dropping below zero: Grafton (88) and Sullivan (29).

On the flip side, over half of New Hampshire’s net natural population growth is centered in just one county–Hillsborough (1,717).

In terms of overall population growth, negative net natural growth can be overcome in the short-run with strong in-migration from other areas—such as Belknap which grew by 136 people thanks to in-migration.  Nonetheless, in-migration can be fickle and cannot be relied on for consistent yearly growth.

As Demographic Winter continues to set in, it will become increasingly harder to maintain population and economic growth.

Table Showing Estimates of the Components of Resident Population Change for Counties of New Hampshire July 1, 2010 to July 1, 2011