Age Focused Planning

In the Southwest Region of New Hampshire, the proportion of the population that is 65+ is growing faster than any other age group while the total population is showing little to no growth. Projections indicate that this cohort will increase from 15% to 26% of the total population between 2010 and 2040. As of 2010, over 80% of the Region’s municipalities had a median age exceeding that of the state. In contrast to the Region’s senior population, the number of children under the age of 15 decreased by 14% between 2000 and 2010.

During 2019 and 2020, Southwest Region Planning Commission (SWRPC) conducted a Planning Study to improve the understanding of changing demographic trends and the issues and needs relative to promoting age-friendly communities in the Region. SWRPC analyzed population characteristics within the Region and reviewed information gathered from 33 municipalities related to four theme areas that can have a profound impact on health and quality of life for residents—economic opportunity, housing options, social engagement, and transportation alternatives. The Study helped to improve understanding of the issues and needs relative to promoting age-friendly communities in Southwest New Hampshire. Age-friendly communities are designed to meet the wants and needs of residents of all ages. Individual communities and other stakeholders can use the Study’s findings, recommendations and guidance to establish and implement specific strategies for becoming more age-friendly, including priority focus areas for consideration in local master plans and land use regulations.