Tourists love visiting Maine because of it’s natural beauty, charming villages and slower pace of life. The reason for the “throw back” feel is the dearth of young people. During a bicycle trip around Castine, Maine, one of those charming Down East villages, I noticed all the retirees and one standout: a mother with two toddler-aged kids. It was the standout that made me realize, “where are the people in their 20s and 30s?”
Maine knows it, too.
Maine already has the oldest population in the nation based on median age, said Charles S. Colgan of the Muskie School of Public Service. A report by the Maine State Planning Office on Maine’s aging population puts that median age at 41.2, or almost five years older than the national median age.
Colgan stresses that states such as Florida and Arizona have a higher percentage of residents at or near retirement than Maine. Maine is older in median age, he said, because the state has fewer young people than most states and that situation will continue.
One reason for the disappearing children is lack of jobs. L.L. Bean can only hire so many folks. Is it any wonder that the state’s largest employer is the State of Maine? With a disappearing tax base, that won’t last long.
What Maine needs is more antique stores. The stores will employ the young so they won’t move to Massachusetts. That’s all I did over the weekend. I visited 6 antique stores and I truly believe that the stuff sold in such stores come from the estates of all the dead Mainers.
And I certainly supported the Maine economy with my purchases. The best items I got was a porceline urinal and a huge enamel coffee pot. Both will be used as planters in my suburban oasis, i.e. the patio.
So, during your next visit to Maine, make sure to visit at least 3 antique stores. The disappearing adolescents of Maine will thank you.