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How New Hampshire’s ‘Silver Wave’ is straining emergency services

New Hampshire’s population is getting older, and the “Silver Wave” is having an impact on emergency services and town budgets.

New Hampshire has the second oldest population in the nation, with a median age of 43 years old, according to World Population Review. Only neighboring Maine has an older population, and Florida, known for its retirement communities, is behind New Hampshire with a median age of 42.

Maine and New Hampshire aren’t unique in the Northeast. Every New England state is among the 15 oldest in the nation.

Seacoast fire departments are seeing an uptick in medical calls that they attribute to the "Silver Wave," or the greying on New Hampshire's population.

But median age doesn’t tell the whole story. According to estimates from the U.S. Census, in 2023, New Hampshire had about 1,395,000 people, with more than 20 percent over 65.

In Seacoast communities, median age levels are even higher than the state average. One reason could be that coastal real estate is usually priced beyond the wallets of young families, often selling to older adults in their high-earning years or to those moving here to retire. 

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