New England Growing Slowly, Becoming More Diverse
By Beth Potier, Media Relations
February 20, 2008
A new demographic report from the Carsey Institute at UNH finds that New England
is becoming more racially diverse, growing more slowly than the rest of the
nation, and that there are sharp contrasts between the demographic trends in
northern and southern New England as well as between trends in metropolitan
and rural areas.
The report, “The Changing Faces of New England: Increasing Spatial and
Racial Diversity,” notes that New England’s population stood at
14.27 million in July 2006, marking a gain of just 2.5 percent since 2000,
less than half the national rate.
“Demographic trends in New England are quite complex,” says report
author Kenneth M. Johnson, senior demographer for the Carsey Institute and
visiting professor of sociology at UNH. “Metropolitan Boston has lost
230,000 residents to domestic migration since 2000 and is growing at less than
half the rate of the 1990s. In contrast, growth has accelerated in rural New
England since 2000 because urban sprawl and recreational and scenic amenities
are attracting migrants.”
Johnson notes that New England’s geographic and economic diversity—comprising
densely settled urban cores, sprawling suburbs, struggling industrial towns,
fast growing recreational and amenity areas and isolated rural villages—is
echoed in the diverse patterns of population change within the region. Among
the report’s highlights:
- Racial diversity increased in New England due to a gain of 407,000 in its
minority population. The white population declined by 60,000.
- New England lost nearly $6 billion dollars of income in migration exchanges
with other areas of the country between 2001 and 2005.
- Population growth rates were higher in northern New England which had positive
net in-migration. Southern New England is losing migrants to other parts of
the United States.
- The modest overall population gain in New England occurred because the immigration
of 341,000 and the excess of births over deaths (285,000) were sufficient to
offset the loss of 279,000 migrants to other areas of the U.S. New England
gains migrants from the Mid-Atlantic states and immigration, but loses many
migrants to the South and West.
- Massachusetts has lost so many domestic migrants that even substantial immigration
was not sufficient to offset it. In contrast, New Hampshire gained the most
migrants, with most coming from Massachusetts, but also from other U.S. destinations.
Growth patterns in metropolitan areas, particularly Boston, contrast sharply
with those in rural areas. Despite gaining large numbers of 20- to 29-year-olds
from migration, Boston experienced a substantial migration loss of family-age
adults and children.
In rural New England, however, population growth is accelerating, with a 20
percent greater annual gain since 2000 compared to the 1990s. Nonmetropolitan
New England is the only part of the region gaining migrants from within the
United States. Population growth rates are highest in a broad band around the
outer edge of the Boston metropolitan area, including much of southern New
Hampshire, as well as in the rural amenity areas of northern New England.
“The demographic change in New England is complex, but its impact is
not. We see it reflected in the diminished community capacity and increasing
difficulties that North Country communities face in providing basic services
to the dwindling, aging populations. It is also evident in the strained infrastructure,
pressed institutions, and rising housing costs in communities that are growing
rapidly because of urban sprawl or migration to New England’s high amenity
areas,” Johnson says. “The loss of 282,000 domestic migrants and
the $6 billion of income they earn needs to be considered in policy discussions
about the needs of the people, organizations, and institutions of New England.”
To read the full report, go to:
For more information about the Carsey Institute, go to www.carseyinstitute.unh.edu.