Peter Francese, nationally known demographer from Exeter, provided information on Penacook's
potential and future and gave an uplifting presentation May 12, 2007. His notes and comments follow:
- Both population and workforce growth is slowing in New Hampshire to less that 1% per year.
- NH is aging: from 31st oldest state in 1990 to 6th oldest state in 2005. Median age is 39.5.
- Merrimack County is growing a bit faster (0.9%), but is older with a median age of 40.
New Hampshire net migration trends 2000-2006
Annual state population growth rates*
- Highest growth in NH and Merrimack County is among people ages 55 to 74.
- Grades K-5 enrollment dropped 4% since 2000 in NH and Merrimack County.
- But Penacook is different; elementary K-5 enrollment is up 21% since 2000.
Merrimack County & New Hampshire age projections 2005-2015
Implications: Because Penacook residents are younger than Concord or Merrimack County, it's future is likely to diverge somewhat from those areas. But their desire for a community identity and sense of place may be as strong as anywhere in the state.
- An older population moves less and may want more community connections.
- But media shifts, fewer kids and rising mobility reduce neighborhood involvement.
- Places that Provide more social connections are more valuable to their residents.
Penacook's 1,700 households*
- Penacook households are larger and more likely to be families with children.
- Penacook has density and demographics on which to build a vibrant community.
- What seems to be missing are enough community building activities and facilities.
Concord's 17,000 households*
Conclusions: To foster a greater sense of place, Penacook could do several things:
- define the village and brand it better with signage
- create a village website and Wi-Fi hotspot
- hold periodic community festivals
- attract a food store into the village center
* Source: Census Bureau