Newly-released local population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau indicate that much of the state is losing population, but those losses are being offset by growth in a relatively small cluster of cities and towns in Greater Portland.

Nationally, the population grew 4.1 percent during the five-year period, to 321.4 million people. In Maine, the overall population grew by only 967 people over the 5-year period – an increase of less than one-tenth of one percent.

Cumberland County had the strongest population growth over the period, gaining 8,303 residents for a total of 289,977 as of July 1, 2015, a growth rate of 3 percent since 2010. York County grew 2 percent, to 201,169.

Mouse over the map below to explore town-by-town estimates. Or scroll down to explore different regions in greater detail.

 

Greater Portland

Portland grew from an estimated population of 66,194 on July 1, 2010 to an estimated 66,881 on July 1, 2015, an increase of just over 1 percent. Other cities in the southern part of the state also saw growth, including Saco (up 3.2 percent), Westbrook (up 2.8 percent) and Scarborough (up 4.1 percent).

Maine’s 10 fastest-growing cities and towns

Town
2010 population
2010-2015 gain
Windham
17,001
815
Falmouth
11,185
803
Gorham
16,381
800
Scarborough
18,919
772
Portland
66,194
687
Saco
18,482
596
S. Portland
25,002
554
Waterville
15,722
539
Cumberland
7,211
420
Westbrook
17,494
392

 

Greater Bangor and Northern Maine

In northern Maine, cities mostly had declining populations, including Presque Isle, where the population dropped 5.4 percent from 2010 to 2015, and Bangor, where the population declined 2.0 percent. Central Maine cities also lost population – especially Augusta, which lost 3.5 percent of its population over the 5-year period.

The Census Bureau estimates that Aroostook County, whose population was estimated to be 68,628 as of July 1, 2015, is Maine’s fastest-shrinking county, with a population loss of 3,242 people since the 2010 Census (a growth rate of -4.5 percent).

In the Bangor area, population gains in the suburbs of Hermon, Ellsworth and Orono were largely offset by losses in the cities of Bangor and Brewer, which together lost an estimated 898 residents in the 2010-2015 period.

Municipalities with the 5 largest population losses, 2010-2015

Town
2010 population
2010-2015 loss
Augusta
19,136
-665
Bangor
33,039
-648
Presque Isle
9,692
-521
Lewiston
36,592
-390
Caribou
8,189
-373

 

Small towns, big impact

Another view of the data looks at population gains and losses in terms of annual percentage rates, which gives an idea of population changes on a per-capita basis. This emphasizes the effects of population gains and losses in comparatively small towns. For instance, Hope, in Knox County, gained 135 new residents between 2010 and 2015 – which means that for every 100 residents who lived in Hope in 2010, there were nearly 9 newcomers in 2015.

By contrast, Portland’s 687 new residents, in a city of 66,881, add up to a paltry 1 percent growth rate over five years.

5 fastest-growing towns, relative to current population

Town
2010 population
2010-2015 gain
2010-2015 growth rate
Waldo
762
80
10.5%
Hope
1,536
135
8.8%
Falmouth
11,185
803
7.2%
Hermon
5,416
383
7.1%
Cumberland
7,211
503
7.0%

Census estimates of population changes in such small towns are less statistically reliable than for larger towns, and so this list excludes towns with fewer than 500 residents, such as Burlington in Penobscot County, where the estimate of 55 new residents out of an estimated 418 would have yielded a 15.2 percent growth rate.

Download the source data from the U.S. Census Bureau here.

This story was corrected on Jan. 4, 2017 to correct the population growth estimates for Bar Harbor and Baring Plantation. Due to an error in merging two data tables, a previous version of this story incorrectly mixed up the population estimates for those two municipalities.