Aging Population

LFDA Editor

Census Bureau figures from 2000-2010 revealed a staggering trend: the number of New Hampshire residents aged 60-64 soared 75 percent and those aged 55-59 increased 54 percent. Age groups between 30 and 44 saw significant double digit decreases. The state's median age increased from 37 to 41 in this decade.

The latest demographic research continues to show an aging population in New Hampshire.  

The state's Office of Energy and Planning projects a 129% increase in the number of residents age 65+ and a 243% increase in the population age 85+ by 2040. Researchers at the Carsey Institute made similar predictions. 

An aging population places several stressors on state agencies and programs, such as Medicaid and Medicare. As the population ages, the labor pool will shrink and the downturn will negatively impact the economy. 

The Governor's Task Force for the Recruitment and Retention of a Young Workers issued a report in 2009 which made several recommendations related to attracting and retaining younger workers. Some of the recommendations include:

  • increase school-to-work internships
  • encourage use of apprenticeship programs
  • reintroduce commuter rail
  • give young workers a Retention Bonus Package
  • improve child care options for parents

Many of the ideas for attracting a younger population have their own pros and cons. For example, New Hampshire has long debated whether a commuter rail would benefit the economy enough to outweigh costs to the state government. 

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

Tabled in the House

Establishes the John and Molly Stark student debt reduction program, which would provide grants to New Hampshire residents who attend UNH and agree to work in New Hampshire for four years after graduation. The bill appropriates $1.2 million over the next two fiscal years for the program.

Killed in the House

Establishes a college scholarship program for UNH students pursuing careers in social services, such as nursing. Applicants would have to agree to work in New Hampshire for at least four years after graduating. The bill appropriates $1 to start the program.

Killed in the House

Establishes a college scholarship program for UNH students pursuing careers in health care. Applicants would have to agree to work in New Hampshire for at least five years after graduating. The bill appropriates $1 to start the program.

Passed Senate

Establishes a commission to evaluate the direct care workforce and preparedness of long-term care and support services for aging adults with dementia or other cognitive brain injuries.

Killed in the Senate

Establishes a commission to study adaptation of the tax structure of the state to economic and demographic changes.

Passed House and Senate

Establishes a demographic study committee to consider net migration, New Hampshire's aging population, etc.

Should NH government do more to address the aging population?

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Issue Status

The most recent Census figures show that, with the exception of 20- to 24-year-olds, all age groups under 45 lost population while older age groups saw gains.

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