Economic Brief: Demographic Winter has Arrived for Majority of Maine’s Counties


by Scott Moody

Just last week, the U.S. Census Bureau released the latest change in population data for Maine by county (excel) between July 1, 2010 and July 1, 2011.  From the state-level data, Maine’s net natural population growth, which is births minus deaths, over this time-period was only 180 people.  However, when examined at the county-level, the  bad news grows even gloomier with 10 out of 16 counties showing negative net natural growth, meaning more deaths occur than births.

As shown in the table below, these counties include:

  • Aroostook (-147)
  • Franklin (-28)
  • Hancock (-134)
  • Kennebec (-35)
  • Knox (-34)
  • Lincoln (-99)
  • Oxford (-115)
  • Piscataquis (-65)
  • Waldo (-12)
  • Washington (-106)

Somerset County was in a unique position where births exactly equaled deaths.  The counties with the strongest net natural growth were Cumberland (345) and Androscoggin (345).

In terms of overall population growth, some of these counties with negative net natural growth were able to overcome them with strong in-migration from other areas—such as Franklin and Knox.  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.

About Steve Robinson

Steve Robinson is the former editor of The Maine Wire and currently the executive producer of the Kirk Minihane Show. Follow him on Twitter @BigSteve207.

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