Aging and Declining Populations in Northern New England: Is There a Role for Immigration?

Riley Sullivan
Date of Publication: 
July, 2019
Source Organization: 
Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

This regional brief explores changes in the size and age of the populations of cities and towns in the three northern New England states and it considers the role immigration plays in sustaining the growth and stability of those populations. While the entire country is aging, northern New England and its rural communities stand out: Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont have the top-three highest median ages in the country, and the populations of their smallest towns generally are substantially older than those of the rest of the region. These communities also have seen the slowest, or even negative, population growth over the last three decades. Despite accounting for a fairly small share of the overall population in northern New England, immigrants have recently made a substantial contribution to the region’s population growth. In seven of ten recent years (2009–2018) New England’s population would have shrunk or failed to grow without the addition of immigrants. The analysis suggests that immigration makes a proportionally larger contribution to population growth in the northern New England municipalities where the population is older and more-slowly growing.

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Sullivan, R. (2019). Aging and Declining Populations in Northern New England: Is There a Role for Immigration?  Boston, MA: Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. Retrieved from