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Past, Present, Future

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*
From US Census Bureau

  • 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.

Societal Trends:

  • 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'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*
From US Census Bureau

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

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To involve citizens in enhancing the quality of life, protecting the historic character, and fostering economic vitality in Penacook Village.
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