Southwest NH, much like the Nation as a whole, is growing more diverse. From 2010 to 2020, communities in the region almost universally experienced a significant increase in the share of their population which identified as a racial or ethnic minority. In many communities, that share doubled. At a time when the total population of the region decreased and international migration served as the sole source of population growth, the diversification of Southwest NH communities is a crucial demographic trend to be understood and acknowledged by local stakeholders and community leaders. Below is a chart demonstrating the percent change from 2010 to 2020 in the population identifying as a race or ethnicity other than non-Hispanic/Latino and white. Growth in the population of racial and ethnic minorities was faster than the State average in nearly every Southwest NH community, with the region as a whole seeing a 106% increase in minority populations as opposed to a 74% increase across the State of New Hampshire.
The chart below provides an overview of the net change in population identifying as a racial or ethnic minority in the region from 2010-2020 by town. Overall, Southwest NH saw a net increase of 4,754 people who identified as a racial or ethnic minority, with 9.2% of the region’s total population identifying as a racial or ethnic minority in 2020, up from 4.5% in 2010.
As our region faces and aging population and population shrinkage, the diversification of Southwest New Hampshire serves as an important call to action for community leaders in both the public and private sector. Ensuring the adequate representation of diverse voices and promoting equity and inclusion across all sectors is essential to respond to this significant demographic shift, and to make our communities a welcoming place and safe place for all who call Southwest NH home.