Will NH school enrollment continue to decline? What are the major drivers of declining school enrollment?
Yes, NH school enrollment is declining in all but 31 of the 161 NH school districts (NH Department of Education, NH Housing Authority, 2015). In fact, Hillsborough County is the county experiencing the most significant drop in students enrolled in public schools. All three school districts in Amherst and Mont Vernon are experiencing declining school enrollment.
Key drivers of declining school enrollment in New Hampshire include
A NH population with fewer young families
In the early 2000s, the number of young families moving into NH began to decline significantly. This trend is projected to continue.
An increasing number of families are migrating out of NH for job opportunities.
Many NH high school graduates attend out-of-state colleges and do not return to NH to live and work.
Lower birth rates: The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, which monitors state-level birth rates, reports that New Hampshire now has the nation’s lowest birth rate.
Aging population in NH: New Hampshire is aging at a faster rate than many states.
Sources: US Census Data, The Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire