Maine’s population appears to have grown by nearly 10,000 people from April 2020 to this July, due in large part to in-migration, but U.S. Census Bureau officials warned against drawing too many conclusions from the data.

New privacy restrictions, as well as time constraints related to the coronavirus pandemic, prevented Census Bureau analysts from using their usual methodology to compile the latest data, which links population change to various causes including migration, births and deaths.

The bureau said Maine’s population as of July 1 was 1,372,249 – up from 1,362,359 as of April 1, 2020. Deaths in Maine continued to outnumber births, meaning most of the population growth came from in-migration, primarily from other states.

It said Maine’s population increased by 0.7 percent during the 15-month period, one of the fastest rates of growth recorded in the country. During that period, the United States as a whole added fewer than 400,000 people, an increase of 0.1 percent, which the bureau said is the lowest growth rate for a 15-month period since the nation was founded.

The bureau said decreased international migration, dropping fertility rates and increased deaths, due in part to the pandemic, all contributed to the slower population growth nationally.

Census officials said that unlike in past years, they were unable to use certain figures from the 2020 U.S. Census to set national and state base populations. Due to new privacy restrictions on some data, as well as delays caused by the pandemic, the Census Bureau said it had to use different sets of data to determine populations, and it warned against comparing its latest figures to previous years because of the differences in how the numbers were derived.

Real estate brokers have noted that more homes in Maine are being bought by out-of-staters. Typically, a quarter of the home sales in the state involve buyers from outside the state, but during the pandemic, brokers said, that number has risen to nearly 40 percent.

In a statement, Maine State Economist Amanda Rector said her analysis of the figures showed the state has gained 15,473 people from domestic migration and 867 from international migration since April 2020.

However, Rector also cautioned against reading too much into the figures, saying only time will tell if the in-migration during the pandemic is temporary or permanent.

“While these population estimates are encouraging for Maine, it remains difficult to conclude the longer-term impacts of COVID-19 on the state’s population,” she said.


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