All but two Maine counties had a net increase in population from April 2020 to July 2021, and the state’s population overall grew by nearly 10,000 people, new census figures show.

Every county in the state posted a “natural decrease” in population because deaths outnumbered births, the U.S. Census Bureau said, but except for Androscoggin and Aroostook counties, enough people moved in to offset those losses. Maine was one of only four states in which every county saw a natural drop in population.

In percentage terms, Piscataquis County led the state in population growth, posting an increase of 2.4 percent, from 16,768 in April 2020 to 17,165 in July 2021. The Census Bureau said there were 141 more deaths than births in the county during that period, and that 546 people moved into Piscataquis County during that time. A dozen of those migrants came from outside the U.S., the bureau said, and 534 were domestic migrants – people moving within Maine or coming from outside the state.

In raw numbers, York County posted the biggest population increase during the 15-month period in the Census Bureau’s report, growing by 2,522 people. The report said deaths outnumbered births in York County by 848, but the county drew 3,370 people from elsewhere – 96 international migrants and 3,274 domestic migrants.

Cumberland County was second in raw population growth, with an increase of 1,919 residents.

Aroostook County posted the biggest population decline – 135 people. In the county, deaths outnumbered births by nearly two-to-one, with 1,093 people dying and 591 births recorded during the April 2020 to July 2021 period.


Androscoggin County also experienced a population decline but had a net decrease of just five people, with the natural decrease and in-migration nearly offsetting each other.

Penobscot County had the biggest natural change in population, with 2,029 people dying during the 15-month period and 1,164 births, for a net decrease of 865.

The Census Bureau had previously reported the roughly 10,000 increase in Maine’s total population late last year and released figures on county populations Thursday.

The increase put Maine’s total population as of July 1 at 1,372,249 and, as in the county-by-county figures, analysts said the growth came from in-migration that was strong enough to offset the continued natural decrease in the population because of deaths outnumbering births.

The state’s population increase of 0.7 percent ranked among the fastest growth rates in the country. From April 1, 2020, to July 1, 2021, the United States as a whole added just 400,000 people, an increase of 0.1 percent. Census analysts said international migration into the U.S. decreased during that time, and dropping fertility rates coupled with increased deaths – due in part to the coronavirus pandemic – led to the slowest population growth rate since the nation’s founding.

But Maine seems to be attracting people from elsewhere in the Northeast. Real estate brokers said they have seen sharp increases in the number of homes being sold to people from outside Maine. Many are people who no longer need to be within commuting distance of their offices because they have shifted to working from home during the pandemic.

As long as they can find a place with a good internet connection, brokers say, those buyers say they can work from home as easily in Maine as in Massachusetts, New York or New Jersey.

Prior to the pandemic, a quarter of the home sales in Maine typically involved buyers from outside the state, but now it’s nearly 40 percent, real estate analysts say.

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