2009 population estimates show loss

March 1, 2010

Maine’s population of about 1.3 million just did something rare these days: it declined. According to estimates by the US Census Bureau Maine lost about one tenth of one percent of its population between 2008 and 2009.

Population growth comes from two places: natural increase (births and deaths) and migration. Maine’s population has only small natural increases because it is the oldest in the country and has the lowest percentage of non-white residents, who typically have higher birth rates. Earlier in the decade, Maine’s population growth was bolstered by net in-migration: more people moving into Maine than out of Maine. That changed from 2008 to 2009, as Maine saw net out-migration: more people moving out of the state than in. The overall out-migration was driven by an increase in domestic out-migration. The flow of international migration, although small, has been fairly constant over the last 9 years.

Maine and the US as a whole were in recession throughout 2008 and 2009, and recessions can affect people’s decisions about moving, so more years of data would be needed to call it a trend. Regardless, population growth is an important component of long-term economic growth because businesses need a dependable supply of labor to provide goods and services. Promoting Maine’s Quality of Place and other strategies to boost in-migration over the long run are thus crucial for Maine’s economic future.

Download the full PDF report with graphs included.

Maine’s population of about 1.3 million just did something rare these days: it declined. According to estimates by the US Census Bureau Maine lost about one tenth of one percent of its population between 2008 and 2009.

Supporting documents

Maine 2009 Population Loss (PDF)