Ben Johnson


Maine’s death rate now higher than its birth rate

Ben Johnson

AUGUSTA, ME, May 20, 2013 ( – The number of deaths in Maine now exceeds the number of births, according to a new report released by the Governor's Office of Policy and Management (OPM).

Last year, there were 103 more deaths than new babies.

The state's birth rate has steadily fallen over the last 23 years, from 14.1 live births per 1,000 women in 1990 to 10.2 per 1,000 women today.

The state's analysis of census data found the state has the nation's highest median age, 43, and is tied with Vermont for the lowest percentage of minors. Only 20.7 percent of the two states' population is composed of people under the age of 18.

Maine's population has the highest percentage of Baby Boomers in the country, 29.4 percent.

“A few aspects of Maine’s demographic picture stand out: an older population with a large number of baby boomers, relatively few children, and low numbers of racial and ethnic minorities,” the report states.” Another report, Population Outlook to 2030, notes a report produced by the Governor's Office of Policy and Management (OPM).

The graying human resources department will have a harmful economic impact on every county in the state.

“Business executives look at workforce availability when making plans for the future. In addition to information about the makeup of their current workforce, they look at how many working-age people will be available in the coming years,” the OPM report states.

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This gloomy outlook has been confirmed by multiple reports across state departmental lines.

"An aging, slowly growing population and the declining rate of residents participating in the labor force will result in slow labor force growth during the coming years," according to The Maine Labor Force—Aging and Slowly Growing, produced by the state Department of Labor. “No county will escape the demographic challenge posed by the aging work force.”

State law may have to change to make the state more amenable to a higher birthrate.

The state affirms “a woman's exercise of her private decision to terminate a pregnancy before viability,” allowing abortion to remain legal if Roe v. Wade were overturned.

State law also requires all insurance companies that cover prescription drugs to provide contraceptives to policy holders.

Last November, Maine voters narrowly voted to redefine marriage by granting state licenses for same-sex “marriages.”

For those still having children, the top baby names in the state in 2012 were Emma and Mason.  

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