Newly-released local population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau indicate that much of the state continues to lose residents, but those losses are being offset by growth in a relatively small cluster of cities and towns in Greater Portland, York County and the suburbs of Bangor.

Maine as a whole gained 3,118 people between 2010 and 2016, the Census Bureau estimates – an increase of less than one-quarter of one percent.

Scroll down to explore different regions in greater detail.

Greater Portland

Cumberland County had the strongest population growth from 2010 to 2016, gaining an estimated 10,367 residents for a 3.7 percent growth rate since 2010. York County added 5,212 new residents for a 2.6 percent county-wide growth rate.

Portland and its suburbs dominate the list of municipalities with the state’s fastest population growth:

Maine’s 10 fastest-growing cities and towns since 2010

Town
2010 population
2010-2016 gain
Scarborough
18,919
1,104
Windham
17,001
1,002
Gorham
16,381
1,000
Falmouth
11,185
917
Westbrook
17,494
908
Orono
10,362
880
Portland
66,194
743
Saco
18,482
731
Waterville
15,722
684
Cumberland
7,211
632

Northern Maine

The principal cities and towns of central and northern Maine continued to lose population, especially Presque Isle, where the population dropped 6.0 percent from 2010 to 2016, and Caribou, where the population declined 5.5 percent.

One notable exception is Waterville, which, the Census Bureau estimates, actually gained 684 people since 2010.

The Census Bureau estimates that Aroostook County, where population was estimated to be 67,959 as of July 1, 2016, is Maine’s fastest-shrinking county, with a loss of 3,911 people since the 2010 Census (a growth rate of -5.4 percent).

Municipalities with the 5 largest population losses, 2010-2016

Town
2010 population
2010-2016 loss
Bangor
33,039
-1,054
Augusta
19,136
-642
Presque Isle
9,692
-586
Caribou
8,189
-453
Lewiston
36,592
-452

 

Greater Bangor and Hancock County

This map shows differences in each town’s estimated population in 2015 compared with estimates from 2016.

Over this one-year period, the Census Bureau estimated that Orono was the fastest-growing town in Maine, perhaps thanks to growing enrollment at the University of Maine. Orono gained an estimated 521 new residents over the course of the year.

But population gains in Orono were more than offset by losses in the cities elsewhere in the region. Bangor, Brewer and Old Town together lost an estimated 532 residents:

Estimated one-year population changes in the Bangor region, 2015-2016

Town
2015 population
2015-2016 change
Bangor
32,309
-324
Orono
10,721
+521
Brewer
9,221
-114
Old Town
7,612
-94
Hampden
7,381
-33
Hermon
5,794
+71
Ellsworth
7,884
+27

 

Greater Bangor and Hancock County: since 2010

Since 2010, however, the Census Bureau estimates that the Bangor region as a whole has gained residents, as growth in the suburbs outpaces losses in the region’s core communities:

Estimated six-year population changes in the Bangor region, 2010-2016

Town
2010 population
2010-2016 change
Bangor
33,039
-1,054
Orono
10,362
+880
Brewer
9,482
-375
Old Town
7,840
-322
Hampden
7,257
+91
Hermon
5,416
+449
Ellsworth
7,741
+170

 

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, Waldo, located in Waldo County northwest of Belfast, gained an estimated 89 new residents from its 2010 population of 762 people. That means that for every 100 residents who lived in Waldo in 2010, there were over 11 newcomers by 2016.

By contrast, Portland’s 743 new residents, in a city of 66,937, add up to a paltry 1 percent growth rate over six years.

5 fastest-growing towns, relative to current population

Town
2010 population
2010-2016 gain
2010-2016 growth rate
Waldo
762
89
11.2%
Hope
1,536
139
9.0%
Cumberland
7,211
632
8.8%
Orono
10,362
880
8.5%
Hermon
5,416
449
8.3%

Census estimates of population changes in small towns are less statistically reliable than for larger towns. This list excludes towns with fewer than 500 residents, such as Burlington in Penobscot County, where the estimate of 63 new residents out of an estimated 426 would have yielded a 17.4 percent growth rate.

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

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