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Geographic Distribution of the Population

August 29, 2018 Data Viz

By Julia Vieira, Research Intern, and Phil Sletten, Policy Analyst

Using 2010 Census data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the map below shows population distribution across New Hampshire’s municipalities. The larger the population of the municipality, the darker the shade of red.

The larger municipal populations are located in urban areas in and around Manchester and Nashua, as well as in Concord, Rochester, Dover, and Portsmouth. Other urban centers, such as Berlin, Claremont, Conway, Keene, Laconia, and Lebanon and Hanover, are also notable in the map as the largest population centers in their respective regions. However, the map generally illustrates that the highest population municipalities in the state are located in or nearer to the greater Boston metropolitan area, and municipal populations generally decrease as distance from the southeastern portion of the state increases.

The geographic concentration of the ten most populous municipalities in the state, all but three of which are in western Rockingham and eastern Hillsborough counties, reflects the concentration of the population’s overall distribution across the state. The ten largest municipalities, which are all located in the four more urban counties in the state, included almost a third of the overall state population. Those four counties are closest to metropolitan Boston: Hillsborough County, Merrimack County, Rockingham County, and Strafford County. The two counties of these four that border Massachusetts – Hillsborough and Rockingham – have more than half of the overall state population, which was counted at 1,316,470 by the 2010 Census. The state’s six more rural counties – Belknap, Carroll, Cheshire, Coos, Grafton, and Sullivan – account for just over a quarter of the overall state population.

For more on the demographics of New Hampshire communities, including data showing regional population changes since 2010, see NHFPI’s Issue Brief Measuring New Hampshire’s Municipalities: Economic Disparities and Fiscal Capacities.

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The federal minimum wage is the lowest hourly wage that can be paid to most workers anywhere in the nation. Since its inception at the national level in 1938, when only certain workers were covered, the wage has increased and encompassed more types of employees over time. State law sets New Hampshire’s minimum wage to the federal minimum level, currently at $7.25 per hour. An individual working 40 hours per week at this wage will make about $15,000 per year, assuming they work all 52 weeks. This income level is below the federal poverty guidelines for all households other than a single person, and well below the levels for households that include a partner and children.