Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Support local and independent journalism by making a gift to NHPR today.
Business and Economy

Part 2: Which NH Counties Won New Residents–And Lost Old Ones

Generation Bass, via Flickr/Creative Commons

We’ve been thinking a bit more about demographics lately, in light of the New England Economic Partnership’s recent Economic Forecast conference.  The region faces a number of population problems.  At the risk of oversimplification, here are the main issues:

  • New England has a high proportion of people who are Baby Boomers and older.  Some are already retired, others could retire sooner rather than later.
  • By comparison, the region doesn’t have a lot of young, working-age people.
  • Those young, working-age people aren’t having a lot of kids.
  • Young people with kids from outside the region aren’t moving here in great numbers, either.

The end result?  As more people retire, there might not be enough of a labor pool to replace this workforce.  And as demand for taxpayer-funded senior services increases over the decades, the region’s tax base might not be robust enough to take care of all this population’s needs and maintain other basic services, like schools, roads, etc.
Last week, shortly after the Economic Forecast conference, we posted a link to a cool map created by Jon Bruner of Forbes.  Bruner tracked down IRS data from 2005–2009, and used those numbers to trace the migration patterns each year for every county in the United States.  (You can also check out his map here.)

So, as promised, here’s the continuation of our county-by-county analysis of the data.*  Previously, we looked at the North Country, White Mountains, Lakes Region, and part of Dartmouth-Sunapee (you can read that post here).  Today, we’re going to take a look at two counties, comprising the rest of Dartmouth-Sunapee and the Monadnock Region:  Sullivan County and Cheshire County.

And, in our continuing quest to make migration figures fun, we’re looking at this in terms of wins-and-losses for the most recent year, 2009, complete with easy-to-read bullet lists.


The Overarching Story: In 2005 and 2006, people moving to the area slightly outpaced those leaving.  By 2007, however, they’d pulled even, and in 2008 and 2009, more people left the county than could be replaced.  Of course, it could be that like Dartmouth in Grafton County, at least some changes in migration patterns could be due to the comings and goings of students at Keene State College.  Although a few people came and went from Cheshire County from farther afield, most movement was concentrated between New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Connecticut.

Biggest Wins:

  • 465 from Hillsborough County
  • 262 from Windham County, Vermont
  • 154 from Worcester County, Mass.
  • 58 from Franklin County, Mass.
  • 44 from Hampden County (Springfield), Mass.

Biggest Losses:

  • 130 to Sullivan County
  • 89 to Rockingham County
  • 80 to Merrimack County
  • 43 to Hartford County, Connecticut
  • 41 to Strafford County

Farthest Out-Of-State Losses:

  • King County (Seattle), Washington
  • Maricopa County (Phoenix), Arizona
  • Los Angeles County, California


The Overarching Story: Sullivan County is similar to Coos County in that its migratory reach didn’t extend that far beyond New Hampshire in 2009–and not outside of New England at all. Migration-wise, Sullivan has seen a very similar pattern to neighboring Cheshire County.  In 2005 and 2006, the number of people moving into the area was well ahead of those leaving.  In 2007 and 2008 there were just barely more residents moving in than moving out.  And by 2009, out-migration had outpaced in-migration.

Biggest Wins:

  • 292 from Grafton County
  • 231 from Windsor County, Vermont
  • 130 from Cheshire County
  • 102 from Hillsborough County

Biggest Losses:

  • 201 to Merrimack County
  • 43 to Windham County, Vermont
  • 36 to Rockingham County

Farthest Out-Of-State Losses:

  • Chittenden County (Burlington), Vermont
  • Orange County (Newbury), Vermont
  • Worcester County, Mass.

In later posts, we’ll be looking at the state’s major population centers: the Seacoast (and Strafford County), Merrimack, and Hillsborough Counties.  So keep checking back!

*The Forbes map doesn’t break down migratory patterns by age.  Some of the people moving to the South, for example, could very well be retirees who are tired of New Hampshire winters.  But it does provide a good starting point.

It’s also important to note that in some cases, whether one county gained or lost people to another is sometimes determined by a small handful of mobile residents–and sometimes, even just one person.

You make NHPR possible.

NHPR is nonprofit and independent. We rely on readers like you to support the local, national, and international coverage on this website. Your support makes this news available to everyone.

Give today. A monthly donation of $5 makes a real difference.