Census: Maine’s graying, Andro’s seeing more tots

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That’s the latest from the 2010 Census.

Data on age, sex and housing released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Thursday for 12 states, including Maine, detailed populations and living situations.

Among the highlights:

* Auburn has 400 more housing units than it did 10 years ago; Lewiston has nearly 300 more.

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* In the Twin Cities, more than 40 percent of people aren’t sharing a roof with family, living instead with people they aren’t related to or going it alone. In Farmington, home to the University of Maine Farmington, that figure is close to 62 percent.

* Women outnumber men in every county. The difference is most pronounced in Sagadahoc, with a population that’s 51.6 percent female.

* Androscoggin County has the highest rate among Maine counties of children under the age of 5, making up 6.4 percent of the population.

The last made sense to Angela Robitaille. Owner of Carol Ann’s Daycare in Lewiston, she added an additional classroom for toddlers last year after hearing of more demand.

“It accommodates five more, which for us is a significant amount,” Robitaille said. “It used to be that people just called for infants and infant spots.”

Lewiston Deputy City Administrator Phil Nadeau attended a presentation Wednesday morning by the Maine Development Foundation that forecast a decline in kids under age 5 for the state.

“You have to be able to celebrate the little things,” Nadeau said of the new data.

Having so many young lowered Lewiston’s median age to 37.4. Maine’s four other largest cities, including Auburn, have gotten older since the 2000 Census.

Among those cities, Lewiston was also alone in seeing its average household size increase, a possible reflection of the Somali immigrants who have settled in the city.

Even with the 70-plus buildings brought down by demolition or fire since the mid-1990s, Nadeau wasn’t surprised by the growth of new housing units.

“We had a lot of subdivision development in Lewiston the last 10 years, far more than in the last 30 years,” he said.

Census numbers also showed that vacancy rates for homes and rentals crept up across Central and Western Maine, with a few notable exceptions. In Norway, the rental vacancy rate dropped from nearly 15 percent to 9 percent over the decade.

“The economy certainly has something to do with it,” State Planning Office economist Joel Johnson wrote in an email. “The housing bubble and bust wasn’t as dramatic in Maine as it was in other states, but it still left us with a crash in home prices and a larger supply of housing.”

The new figures show Maine, as a whole:

* Has fewer married households, from 52.5 percent of all households to 48.5;

* Has more people living together who aren’t family, from 34.3 percent of all households to 37.1;

* Has grayed: The state’s median age jumped from 38.6 to 42.7.

Maine has had less immigration and a larger baby boom population, relative to other states, Johnson said.

kskelton@sunjournal.com

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