Young adults moving to Granite State

Staff photo by Dean Shalhoup Former NBA star Dennis Rodman and his unlikely pal, "Little Rocket Man" – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un – rock out before the start of Sunday's 20th annual Novemberfest Race and Party. The costumes were among dozens of elaborate get-ups participants donned for the event, which benefits the Nashua Children's Home.

NASHUA – As the myriad of chic boutiques, coffee shops, breweries and loft apartments in downtown Nashua would suggest – and now U.S. Census Bureau data validate – New Hampshire is becoming hip.

More young adults are moving to New Hampshire from other areas of the country, according to an analysis of the census estimates.

“It’s no wonder that migration to New Hampshire is up among those in their 20s and 30s,” Gov. Chris Sununu said. “From our investments in education – starting at early childhood education and continuing through undergraduate education or workforce training – to creating a job-oriented economy that is stronger than ever: New Hampshire has become a destination for success.”

These new statistics show a considerable influx of people from 2013 to 2017, averaging about 5,900 people per year coming to New Hampshire through the last five years. However, Senior Demographer at the University of New Hampshire’s Carsey School of Public Policy Ken Johnson said the big changes in migration patterns in the state came mostly in the last three years: 2015, 2016 and 2017. He said it was during those periods that migration to the state started picking up again.

He said New Hampshire traditionally receives an influx of young adults into the state, particularly those people in their 30s and older 20s. However, the Great Recession that began in late 2007 brought that to a halt for several years.

“I think in many ways this is a return to the patterns we saw before the recession,” Johnson said.

During the Great Recession and its aftermath, essentially 2008 to 2012, roughly 100 more people moved to the Granite State than left it for other areas of the country annually.

“The 2009 to 2012 period is when the recession really was at full force,” Johnson said.

Moreover, the transformation was most significant among people in their 20s with an average annual migration gain of 1,200 between 2013 and 2017, compared to an average annual loss of 1,500 from 2008 to 2012.

Additionally, during the same period, the net annual migration gain nearly doubled among people in their 30s. On the other hand, the net inflow of people aged 40-49 declined slightly. The children of family age adults who came to New Hampshire also fueled a significant increase in the net influx of people under age 20.

He said that this influx gives the state additional human resources, as well as social and intellectual capital for the future.

The data show net outflow from the state of people age 50 and older slightly increased. Also, Census information released last year showed that northern New England, as a whole, has an aging population. The information puts Maine at the top with the highest median age in the nation at 44.6 years. However, New Hampshire ranked second with a median age of 43, followed by Vermont with a median age at 42.7.

Additionally, information on Nashua’s population from the 2010 census shows that Nashua’s population of persons age 65 and older represents 14.7 percent of the population. However, being on the cusp of the 2020 count, that information may have changed.

“Most of the reason New Hampshire’s population is aging is because of the population that is here,” Johnson said. “It’s not like Florida, where huge numbers of older people move into the state.”

He said New Hampshire tends to receive these migrants in the areas just north of the Massachusetts border, such as Strafford, Rockingham and Hillsborough counties, sort of in the essential outward sprawl of Boston.

“This is domestic migration,” Johnson said. “These are just people moving around in the U.S.”

Immigration relates to the movement from across national borders, which these statistics do not include. However, on top of these domestic gains, he said the state would have also gained from immigration.

Adam Urquhart can be reached at 594-1206, or at aurquhart@nashuatelegraph.com.