This excerpt republished with permission….
Maine has the country’s oldest population by median age and its highest concentration of baby boomers. With an aging populace come challenges — but also opportunities. Could Maine’s “demographic cliff” turn the state into a laboratory for livability?
Choose your favorite metaphor: The Maine Heritage Policy Center once deployed the term “demographic winter.” The governor’s most recent budget briefing stuck with the ever-popular “demographic cliff.” In an article last spring, The New York Times settled on “demographic tsunami” — as in, “Economists regard Maine’s rapidly aging population as a demographic tsunami that has severe implications for the state’s labor pool, healthcare system and overall socioeconomic well-being.”
Whichever your pick, they all sound pretty grim. And no doubt, the state has its share of problems to address thanks to its low birth rate, modest rates of in-migration, and tendency to lose younger wage earners to higher-paying states, all of which combine to make Maine’s population the nation’s oldest. Among those problems: a critical need for more home- and healthcare workers, a lack of affordable housing and public transit options, and an overabundance of films in local cinemas starring dames Maggie Smith or Judi Dench (just kidding, they’re both divine)…