New Hampshire has the third highest median age in the country.
We just can't get away from the "getting older" fact of life. In 2015, 6% of NH's population was 75 or older. That is predicted to increase to nearly 18% by 2040. The state also lost 22,000 school age children since 2000. As the following slide indicates, there will continue to be a decline in the working age group:
“The Young and Restless—25 to 34 year-olds with a bachelor’s degree or higher level of education—are increasingly moving to the close-in neighborhoods of the nation’s large metropolitan areas. This migration is fueling economic growth and urban revitalization.”
As this inevitable migration continues, it has had a positive impact on job growth in parts of NH, but has a profound negative impact on most of the rest of the state, at least in terms of job growth. It would seem logical that if you are building a large business you would want to locate it closer to where you have a larger pool of workers to pull from.
The study offers some suggestions on how to turn the tide. The question still remains though, that even with good safe schools, low crime rate, low tax rate etc., where will people that come here work and live? The majority of people move here to retire or are in a position to own a second seasonal residence. The ones that are already here are getting older and their kids are moving on.
"Better educating our own" is an excellent recommendation, but the fact is that our University system in-state tuition is the third highest in the country. Our high school graduation rate is 4th highest in the country, but a mediocre 24th in the country in high school graduates going on to a degree granting institute.
In summary, NH is getting older, growing very slowly, younger working age residents are moving away and we don't have a long term plan in place at the state level to even begin to address the impacts of these "changing times."
As stated in the study "Virtually all our public policy is based on a picture of ourselves and trends that are not really true any longer."
Change is not only coming, it is already upon us. Planning for the future based only upon the past is bad public policy. Failure to find a compromise on important issues and the continual polarized politics that we have been enduring for too long is even worse. We have taken our collective eye off the ball and we are behind on the count.