The shift in the makeup of Vermont’s age groups, or cohorts, over the last fifteen years has been remarkable. As the baby boomer cohorts have aged an already small base of younger Vermonters has not been augmented by significant in-migration and births. Reductions in the share of 35-49 year olds are particularly remarkable.
Vermont grew rapidly in the late 1700s and early 1800s. From the mid 1800s to 1900s the population remained relatively flat, then grew again in the 1960s-1990s. Growth was fueled by baby boomers and facilitated by developments like the interstate highway system. Since the 1990s Vermont’s population has flattened out again. From 2016 to 2017, Vermont lost 937 people according to Census estimates. Although people move in and out of Vermont all the time, net gains are mainly in older cohorts.
Population growth comes from “natural increase” (births versus deaths) and migration from other states and foreign countries. Annual net population change 2016-2017 was positive, reversing a long-term downward trend. While births continue to outpace deaths, the difference continues to decrease (488 natural increase in 2016; 310 in 2017). At the same time, trends in migration reversed course from a net loss of 1,910 in 2016 to a net gain of 15 in 2017.