Maybe it’s a new trend: a northward creep.

In the past year, Auburn gained 100 people, Lewiston 169.

And Portland lost 205.

The count is part of a yearly population estimate by the U.S. Census Bureau, a snapshot of growth and loss taken every July 1.

The recently released data reflect people numbers from last summer.

“I think people who never would have considered Lewiston as a place to live and a place to invest are starting to put us on their possibility list,” said City Administrator Jim Bennett. “What was happening before is people wouldn’t look at it because of the perception.”

Bennett and state officials agreed that the arrival of Somali immigrants had an effect on Lewiston’s population.

Some towns around L-A posted big gains. In four years, Durham added 316 people, Poland 221, Greene 200 and Paris 159.

“I know we’re growing considerably so I guess I’m not surprised,” said Richard Chick, town manager in Poland. He has seen more building activity, more trash at the transfer station and more people going in and out of the Town Office.

The federal estimates are based on housing units.

Gregory Gill has counted himself in Minot. Since the 2000 census, 140 new homes have been built in town.

“I believe we have 12 or 13 permits out for new ones this year,” he said. “They grew so much they hired an administrator.”

Gill started in February. For more than 200 years before that, selectmen had run the town.

Growth in most places was more modest.

West Paris gained nine people, Dixfield 30, Mechanic Falls 44 and Jay 15.

Carthage and Upton grew one person each.

Donald Lemieux, the director of Maine’s Office of Data Research and Vital Statistics, who is the state’s census contact, said Maine does its own population estimates every year.

The numbers are used for things like revenue sharing and birth rates. Lemieux said he’ll compare the state and federal figures when he’s done.

“I think in general they mesh pretty well,” he said. “You always find a few (where) they’re going up and we’re going down.”


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