Census Bureau figures from 2000-2010 revealed a staggering trend towards an increasingly aged population in New Hampshire.
- The number of residents aged 60-64 soared 75 percent
- Those aged 55-59 increased 54 percent
- Age groups between 30 and 44 significantly decreased.
- The state's median age increased from 37 to 41
The latest demographic research shows these trends continuing.
- The state's Office of Energy and Planning projects a 129% increase in the number of residents age 65+ and a 243% increase in the population age 85+ by 2040
- Researchers at the Carsey Institute made similar predictions
An aging population places several stressors on state agencies and programs, such as Medicaid and Medicare. As the population ages, the labor pool will shrink and the downturn will negatively impact the economy.
Efforts to address the aging population in NH
In 2017, Gov. Chris Sununu created the Millennial Advisory Council. The council is charged with recommending policy to attract and retain younger workers in NH. The council issued its first report in December 2017. Its recommendations include:
- Revising state zoning laws to encourage the construction of affordable housing
- Informing students about alternatives to traditional four-year college, such as vocational schools and school-to-work pathways
- Promoting the use of renewable energy and reducing carbon emissions
- Extending commuter rail service to Nashua
- Encouraging family-friendly workplace policies
- Providing incentives for hiring recent New HAmpshire graduates
In 2018, New Hampshire created the new office of state demographer, charged with developing demographic projections and giving notes on the potential demographic impact of proposed bills.
Many of ideas for attracting a younger population have their own pros and cons. For example, New Hampshire has long debated whether a commuter rail would benefit the economy enough to outweigh costs to the state government.