Maine struggles to keep its young people in the state. And people who are here are often older and nearing retirement. This creates the threat of lost jobs and potentially lost businesses.
And there are other issues, too, that serve to make Maine less appealing. From an oversized state government to a high cost of living, changes need to be made if Maine hopes to retain its younger generation and see lasting growth.
A Shrinking and Aging Population
In 2016, Maine’s population was estimated at a little over 1,300,000. This number has barely changed since the early 2000s. And the cause is demographics: our native population is shrinking because more people are dying than are being born.
In fact, our state is the oldest in the nation. More than 21% of our population is aged 65 or older. Maine has the highest average age in the nation and the lowest percentage of people under 18..
Most of the people who live in Maine either grew up here or moved here as young adults. But because the state has one of the smallest economies, there isn’t much opportunity.
High Costs of Living
Maine has a reputation for being expensive, with the average annual cost of living being $45,000. When you factor in the median annual income is $33,000, there isn’t much incentive for young people to stick around.
The need for new jobs and education is paramount to Maine’s long-term success. But changes at the state government level need to take place before Maine is a welcoming place for new businesses and entrepreneurs.
It’s Not an Easy Place to Start a Business
Business owners and investors look to grow in places that offer competitive advantages, such as lower costs of doing business, access to skilled workers, proximity to their large customers, consumer markets or distribution hubs. Maine offers none of these. In fact, our costs are higher, our workforce is smaller, and our remote location only adds difficulty to business logistics. Maine would need to work even harder to attract businesses to bring jobs here, yet our policies do exactly the opposite!
If Maine can come together and work toward a better future, the state will be more appealing to those who presently live here and those from away. If you would like to be a part of that change, we urge you to sign up for our email newsletter, so you can be sure to stay current on the latest developments.