Maine’s population sees largest regional percentage increase

Maine the lone state where median age dropped from 2020 to 2021, according to New York Times.

by | February 12, 2023

Photo credit: Prostock Studio/iStock

By now, many of us know that Maine’s population is on the rise. But a new look at Census data by University of New Hampshire researchers compares the state’s growth with the rest of New England.

The data shows Maine’s population had the biggest percentage increase of the New England states in 2020-21 and 2021-22. Census figures show that Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Connecticut reported population increases the past couple of years, while Massachusetts and Rhode Island dropped.

UNH researcher Kenneth Johnson noted in a recent paper that Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont gained because new residents moved to those states. Among pre-existing residents, the number of deaths outstripped the number of births, but the new people from “away” offset the natural decline in population. 

Annual population percentage change for New England states from 2018 to 2022. Analysis by K.M. Johnson of the Carsey School at the University of New Hampshire based on U.S. Census Bureau Population Estimates.

The Maine Monitor reported in December that new Census figures show Maine’s population growth was fueled by pandemic-era domestic and international migration.

The state’s population stood at 1,385,340 on July 1, 2022, up by 8,102 in a year and up by 21,783 since July 1, 2020, according to the latest Census figures. Maine is the 42nd largest state.

In Washington County, and around the state, new residents have tightened the housing market, the Monitor reported. 

The New York Times weighed in on the trend earlier this month, noting the real estate crunch and revealing this nugget: Maine was the only state where the median age actually dropped from 2020 to 2021. 

“For decades we’ve been complaining about a brain drain, young people leaving, and we’re turning that around,” Governor Janet Mills told the Times. “We’re excited about people coming to Maine, and we want to make sure it remains affordable.”


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David Dahl

David Dahl

Veteran journalist David Dahl serves as the editor of The Maine Monitor, overseeing its daily operations. David was most recently a deputy managing editor at the Boston Globe. Before joining the Globe, David worked for 20 years at the St. Petersburg Times. He was a Nieman fellow at Harvard University and a fellow at the Sulzberger Executive Leadership Program at Columbia University. He has also been an adjunct professor of journalism at Emerson College, Boston College and Boston University. David and his wife, Kathy, enjoy tennis and kayaking at their home in Friendship. They have two adult children.