Among the top three oldest states in the county, NH has seen a significant increase in residents over 50 in the past 15 years. But migration, which has accounted for virtually all the growth in NH’s population, is changing that.
Family and the environment are the top reasons why people move to and stay in NH, according to Kenneth M. Johnson, a senior demographer at the Carsey School of Public Policy, and Kristine Bundschuh, a PhD student in sociology at the University of NH. The two analyzed data from the UNH Survey Center’s Granite State Poll to examine the characteristics of people moving here the last 10 years and those who were born here or moved here more than 10 years ago.
A key finding is that recent migrants are younger. Among those who arrived in the past 10 years, 61% are younger than 50.
Consistent with prior research, it negates the assumption that newcomers are all retirees moving into amenity-rich, remote areas. Without the influx of younger people moving to the state between 2013 and 2017, NH’s median age would be even higher. As of July 1, 2019, the Census Bureau estimated that NH’s median age was 43.1, up from 43 in July of 2018 and 41.1 in April 2010. (The U.S. median age is 38.1). That influx creates the potential for additional children in the future as migrants begin to have families. For employers, migration has brought an influx of better-educated, higher-income residents.
Among recent migrants and established residents more than a third of each group lives in a household with an income of $100,000 or more, and a significant proportion have earned a college degree or higher, including 42% of recent migrants and 37% of established residents. “Adults in the family stage of the life-cycle also contribute to communities by being active in community groups, volunteer organizations and local government as well as other activities that contribute to the social life of communities,” says Johnson. “Because New Hampshire communities depend heavily on volunteers to staff fire departments and EMT services, family-age people are important to a community’s future.”
The top seven reasons people choose NH are: family, the environment, quality of life, employment, taxes, culture and lifestyle, and the economy. Many established residents mention that living in NH has made them appreciate its safety, its small-town feel and its slower pace of life. “Only one-third of the adult population living in New Hampshire was born in the state. So, New Hampshire has a long history of migrants bringing families, energy and new ideas to the state,” Johnson says.
For more information, visit carsey.unh.edu/publication/why-people-move-to-stay-in-NH.