VERMONT POPULATION GROWTH HIT A POTHOLE IN 2011-2012 AT A TIME OF MAJOR AGE GROUP TRENDS CHANGE THE STATE’S WORKFORCE LANDSCAPE
A Vermont Department of Labor (VDL) 2005 study projecting working age populations from 2004 through 2030 pointed to a slowing but positive growth of overall population during the period—but Census reported tiny increase from 2010 to 2010 and an actual decrease in Vermont population for 2012.
Other U.S. Census projections of total population by age generally show little change 2000-2030 in working age population while under age 15 declines slightly and 65 and over population more than doubles.
While the VDL using Census data indicates an annual population growth of about 6,000 a year starting in 2005 slowing to about 2,000 annually in 2030, the State barely gained about a dozen citizens a month 2011-2012 or about 500 for the two year period. In fact, the Census reported only a 1,700 yearly population increase for the State, 16,900 for the entire 2000-2010 decade or 2.8% with the 2010 Vermont population 625,741.
The most difficult estimation in projecting populations comes in determining a number for those who will migrate in and out of a state which comprises the “net migration.” The other population change can be gained from very accurate data each state records—birth and deaths which provide a base then adjusted by net migration.
But even more noteworthy in the 2005 study were workforce age population changes centering around 2012 when “Vermont’s working age population [15-65]…is forecast to decline for the foreseeable future.” That forecast shows working age population in continual decline 2012-2030 though a slower rate toward the end of the period.
Sharp differences occur in various age groups of the workforce forecast. From about 2006 through 2022 the 15-19 age group population dips sharply early on and then from a lower base begins to grow in 2022. About 2015, the 20-34 age group representing the baby boom echo which grew rapidly from the millennium begins a slow by steady decline through 2030 as that echo ages out into the 35-49 age range. The only group growing rapidly 2016 though 2029 are those same baby boom echo folks which hit the 35-49 ages. Finally, the baby boomers finish exiting out of the 50 to 65 age workforce group into the post-65 retirement category—first they grow the 50-65 age group from 2005 to 2016 followed by moving into retirement, driving down the 50-65 age group population 2017 through 2030.
This report (access it at file:///Users/TonyRVT/Documents/VTdemographic-projections-2004-2030.pdf ) presents in easy to interpret graphs these changes for each of the New England States while highlighting the Vermont data.