by Scott Moody, Chief Economist, The Maine Heritage Policy Center
Today, the U.S. Census Bureau released their first post-census population estimates by state. The goods news is that Maine avoided a third consecutive year of population decline, but barely. The bad news is that Maine’s population grew by only 809 people, which was the 47th slowest in the country.
More ominously, the net natural increase (births minus deaths) accounted for only 180 people with 12,868 births versus 12,688 deaths. Maine keeps moving closer to the day when net natural increase moves into negative territory–a very bad sign for long-term sustainable population growth.
Net domestic migration (migration between the states) was positive by only 72 people. So that leaves 73 percent of Maine’s net population growth was due to international migration with an addition of 594 people.
Overall, this is not a good place to be in. International migration is very fickle and Maine can not rely on it for future population growth. The primary concern is the near zero net natural growth rate which is directly attributable to Maine’s aging demographic profile. Maine policymakers need to find a way to attract young people to the state to address this concern.