Our neighbors to the west are about to pass us in population for the first time in recorded history.
The state in 2014 had just 3,300 people fewer people than we do, according to U.S. Census population estimates — that’s roughly the population of Norridgewock or Rockland. And the Granite State’s population is growing faster than ours, according to the Boston Globe, which put together the chart above.
At this rate, New Hampshirites could outnumber us by 2017, the Globe reported.
And it’s because New Hampshire is just that much closer to Massachusetts.
“The single most important factor was proximity to Massachusetts,” Kenneth Johnson of the Carsey School of Public Policy told the Globe. “New Hampshire had the outer edge of the Boston metro area. A lot of companies that wanted to be close to Boston settled in New Hampshire, meaning there were more employment opportunities.”
Our overall population was forecast to drop by .21 percent by 2030, according to the Urban Institute. That’s if our current birth, death and migration rates remain at the 2010 averages.
The fact that Maine’s population grew at all last year is due entirely to people from out-of-state moving here. The gap between our birth and death rates has been shrinking for decades. Deaths finally eclipsed births a couple years ago — a grim distinction Maine shares only with West Virginia.