Maine Population Grew Slowly Over the Last Decade
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine’s population grew slowly over the last decade, in which the state added about 34,000 residents, the U.S. Census Bureau reported on Monday.
The new census data place Maine’s population at 1,362,359. That’s an increase of about 2.6%, or 33,998 people, from 2010.
The state population grew more slowly during the 2010s than the 2000s, when Maine grew by more than 4% and added more than 50,000 people. Neither population change warranted a change to the state’s congressional makeup, and Maine will continue sending two U.S. representatives to Congress.
The new population numbers will be used by governments, nonprofit groups and others to inform critical services, said U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.
“We use the data to make sure the economy is working for everyone,” Raimondo said. “The data is vital.”
Maine’s rate of population growth was less than the U.S. at large, and less than the Northeast. The country as a whole grew by 7.4% and the Northeast grew by 4.1%. Much of the growth was in the South and West.
The slow growth in Maine meant the state ticked down from the 41st most populous state to the 42nd. The state’s percentage change in population was also the 42nd largest in the country, while the numeric change ranked 43rd.
While Maine’s population growth slowed, the state far outpaced three states that lost population from 2010 to 2020. Those states were Illinois, Mississippi and West Virginia.
In northern New England, Maine’s population growth rate was about the same as Vermont’s, and slightly slower than New Hampshire. The fastest growing state in New England was Massachusetts at more than 7%.
Census takers had to try new methods to finish the big count this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. For example, the census was advertised on pizza boxes instead of during basketball games, said Ron Jarmin, acting director of the U.S. Census Bureau.