New census data confirms a portrait of Maine as a state that’s old and marked by a startling lack of diversity.

In 2013, the median age of a Mainer was 44, the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey found — compared with 37.5 years for the country as a whole — and the state remains the oldest by median age in the country.

Maine’s population is 95.2 percent white, compared with 74.0 percent for the United States as a whole. Only 1.4 percent of Mainers are Hispanic, compared with 16.6 percent nationally. And only 1.1 percent of Mainers are African-American, compared with 12.6 percent of the country as a whole.

However, while Mainers are getting older — the median age in 2000 was 38.6 — the state is becoming slightly more diverse. The Hispanic and African-American populations in 2000 were just 0.7 percent each.

In the latest survey, Maine’s African-American population percentage tied with Utah’s and exceeded percentages in Vermont, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana. However, only in West Virginia did Hispanics make up a smaller share of the population, with 1.3 percent.

The Census survey, released Thursday, uses data collected from 2009 to 2013 and serves as a midway report between the last national census conducted in 2010 and the next in 2020. The five-year time period for data collection helps to adjust numbers over the decade gap between the national censuses.


The survey also showed that Mainers have deep roots in the U.S. — 3.4 percent are foreign-born, compared with 12.9 percent nationally. And English is the only language spoken in 93.2 percent of Maine households, compared with 79.3 percent nationally.

The Census numbers suggest Maine is continuing to struggle economically.

The median household income was $48,453, below the national figure of $53,046. The Census Bureau said that 25.1 percent of Maine families had income of less than $25,000 a year, compared to 23.4 percent nationally. At the other end of the scale, 16.8 percent of Maine families brought in more than $100,000 a year, compared with 22.5 percent nationally. But while 9.1 percent of Maine families were below the poverty line, the national figure was higher, at 11.3 percent.

Matt Gagnon, chief executive officer of the conservative Maine Heritage Policy Center, said the disparity between the percentage of Mainers making more than $100,000 a year and the percentage nationally jumps out.

“That, to me, says we have a lot of work to do with economic development,” he said.

Gagnon said there’s no quick fix and Maine needs to take a “holistic” approach to attract new development, from tackling high energy costs and taxes to aligning the education system to the needs of employers.


“We have an opportunity to make a big dent in those types of things,” he said, but results take years to show up in statistics. He also said the state has a low crime rate, a good quality of life and a workforce with a strong work ethic that also can attract employers.

Joel Johnson, an economist with the liberal-leaning Maine Center for Economic Policy, said many of the numbers are not surprising, particularly those showing a lack of demographic diversity.

The state, Johnson said, is struggling to bring in new residents who could help provide income growth and new businesses, but it needs to develop a more welcoming attitude to accomplish that.

Many economists warn that Maine businesses will have a hard time filling jobs in the future because of low population growth and an aging workforce.

That should suggest the state needs to do more to attract younger residents and immigrants to spark economic growth. But state officials aren’t reaching out to immigrants, Johnson said.

“In fact, we’ve seen a shift in recent years toward more xenophobic rhetoric” that ostracizes immigrants, he said.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.