As I blogged recently, projections of Maine’s population paints a grim demographic picture that will also have severe negative economic consequences. Of course, projections may not be what happen in reality.
New 2012 population data from the Census Bureau adds credibility to these projections. As shown in the chart above, the inversion of Maine’s age pyramid is well underway–meaning there is a shrinking number of young people and a growing number of retired people. The chart shows the percentage change in each age cohort based on a fixed starting point in 2010 (creating a growth index).
The number of Mainers under the age of 19 has shrunk by 2.5 percent to 301,814 people in 2012 from 309,708 people in 2010–a loss of 7,894 young people.
On the other hand, the number of Mainers over the age of 65 has grown by 6.8 percent to 226,376 people in 2012 from 212,046 people in 2010–an increase of 14,330 people.
Correspondingly, those in the middle of the age pyramid (20 to 65) are also beginning to shrink. After growing by 0.1 percent between 2010 to 2011, this age cohort shrank by 0.6 percent between 2011 to 2012. This age cohort represents Maine’s working age population, and that means fewer workers to fuel Maine’s businesses and fewer taxpayers to fuel Maine’s state and local governments. Overall, between 2010 to 2012 Maine lost 4,829 people in this age cohort.
Maine’s 60+ years experiment with big government policies has only resulted in a stagnant economy that is not capable of creating good paying jobs to keep and attract young families. To help avert this crisis there are policy changes that can and must be made today–changes such as lower taxes, right-to-work, healthcare reform, and customized learning.
The population clock is ticking.