Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Census Revealed

Last year, I encouraged residents of Dover to reply to census forms that were distributed ( The middle of last week, the New Hampshire population figures were revealed. In total the State of NH was up 6.5% for a total of just of 1.3 million residents.

Locally, Dover has reached just under 30,000 residents (29,987). For rounding purposes, I'm going to feel justified saying we are at 30,000 residents. I am sure between last April and this April we'll have 13 new residents :). This is an 11.5 percent increase over 2000 (26,884). When reviewing the Office of Energy and Planning's estimates for population, our numbers are over 1000 residents higher. In 2007 we hired a company, DemographicsNow, to review and extrapolate population and other demographics. At that time, they determined we had 29,402 residents. That number now seems very solid.

If you live in Dover, you now live in the fifth most populous community in NH. We lept from 7th to 5th (incidentally, we scrambled over Rochester and Salem). Stafford County was the fastest growing county at 9.7 percent. To give some perspective, Dover is the only community in the top 10 to have double digit percentage population growth, and gained 3100 residents, highest numerical increase in the state, by a community. Windham, which is in Rockingham County, grew 27 percent to 13,000+ residents. It was the community with the largest percentage growth in the state, and gained 300 less people than Dover. To put Dover's growth in perspective, Cheshire and Sullivan Counties gained 100 people more than Dover each.

Those numbers are staggering. They are also evidence of what we who work for the City, and what residents of the City know. Dover is the place to be. We have a great quality of life, we have great geography, and truly have opportunities all around us to keep the onward and upward momentum at our backs.

So what's next? Well, the easy answer is to move forward. But how? I think that's a discussion we need to keep having. The Planning Department is happy to start that discussion and I think soon, you will see us put feelers out there. This data is perfect for us to start the next iteration of the Land Use section of the Mast Plan. This chapter will help the community define what we want to look like at 10 years, what we want to feel like in 20 years, and what we want to look like when we reach 35,000?

Stay tuned, because I have some ideas, and I hope you do as well. We can only continue to prosper if we work together to make Dover the community we all want to enjoy.

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