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

A new brief from the New England Public Policy Center at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston explores the issues of Northern New England’s aging and shrinking population with the goal of identifying a role for immigration in stabilizing these trends. Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont have the three highest median ages in the nation. Further, Maine is projected to have more residents aged 65 or older than residents under 18 by 2020—at least 15 years earlier than expected nationwide. The author finds that some of the towns with the slowest growth among native-born populations have seen their population losses offset by immigrant population increases (for example, Calais, Maine); nearly 60% of growth in these slow-growing places was driven by immigration. The brief concludes by addressing possible immigrant incentive approaches, as well as recognizing the need for federal resources to reduce strain on resettlement destinations (e.g., Portland, Maine).