3. Population Trends

3. Population Trends
During the past forty years the population of Conway, as determined by the U.S. Bureau of the Census, increased by 100% (4,306 people). A significant portion of this population growth, however, occurred between 1970 and 1980 when the town’s population increased by 2,293 individuals, a growth rate of over 47% during that decade.
Between 1980 and 2000, the Town of Conway experienced fairly consistent growth, but at a rate somewhat slower than the 1970s. As shown in Table 3-1, Conway’s population increased from 7,158 in 1980 to 8,604 in 2000, representing an increase of about 1,500 residents, or about 21%. Over this twenty year period, the greatest gains in population growth were experienced within the 1980s, as the population increased by 782 residents (11%). Population growth in the 1990s slowed marginally with the number of new residents increasing by 664 (8.4%).
Table 3-1. Population Trends: 1980-2000
Town of Conway and Carroll County
  1980 1990 2000 # Change
80-90
% Change
80-90
# Change
90-00
% Change
90-00
Conway 7,158 7,940 8,604 782 10.9% 664 8.4%
Carroll County 27,931 35,592 43,887 7,661 27.4% 8,295 23.3%
Source: U.S. Census

Although Conway has undergone consistent population growth over the past twenty years, Carroll County has experienced exceptional growth over the same time period. Between 1980 and 2000, Carroll County’s population increased by 15,956 residents – representing a growth rate of 57%, or nearly three times the rate experienced in Conway over the same time period. Population growth within the County, on a percentage basis, has been fairly consistent throughout the 1980s and 1990s, increasing by 7,661 (27.4%) residents between 1980 and 1990, and 8,295 residents (23.3%) between 1990 and 2000.

As the economic, healthcare, recreational, population and cultural “hub” of Carroll County and the Mount Washington Valley, it is important to understand the unique characteristics of Conway’s population growth, as well as the distribution of people throughout the County. Table 3-2 presents a summary of population changes for all towns in Carroll County between 1980 and 2000. The table indicates, as previously noted, that the County grew at a fairly constant rate between 1980 and 2000, supporting a total population increase of 27% between 1980 and 1990, and 23% between 1990 and 2000. What is noteworthy however, is that the total population growth between 1980 and 2000 is not evenly distributed throughout the County. For example, towns with the largest population increases (nearly or in some cases doubling in size) such as Effingham (113%), Moultonboro (103%) and Wakefield (90%) are located in the southern tier of the County, while towns with slower population growth such as Conway (20%), Jackson (30%), Hart’s Location (37%) and Chatham (37%) are located in the northern tier (Figure 3-1). This finding suggests that the population growth experienced in the County’s southern tier communities has been influenced by quality of life factors associated with the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, as well as the economic growth and prosperity which has migrated north from the Greater Boston area into New Hampshire’s southern and seacoast regions.
Table 3–2. Population Trends: 1980-2000
Carroll County Municipalities
        # Change %Change Pop. Capture Rate
  1980 1990 2000 80-90 90-00 80-00 80-90 90-00 80-00 80-00
Albany 383 536 654 153 118 271 39.9% 22% 70.8% 1.7%
Bartlett 1,566 2,290 2,705 724 415 1,139 46.2% 18.1% 72.7% 7.1%
Brookfield 385 518 604 133 86 219 34.5% 16.6% 56.9% 1.4%
Chatham 189 268 260 79 -8 71 41.8% -3% 37.6% 0.4%
Conway 7158 7,940 8,604 782 664 1,446 10.9% 8.4% 20.2% 9.1%
Eaton 256 362 375 106 13 119 41.4% 3.6% 46.5% 0.7%
Effingham 599 941 1273 342 332 674 57.1% 35.3% 112.5% 4.2%
Freedom 720 935 1303 215 368 583 29.9% 39.4% 81% 3.7%
Hart's Location 27 36 37 9 1 10 33.3% 2.8% 37% 0.1%
Jackson 642 678 835 36 157 193 5.6% 23.2% 30.1% 1.2%
Madison 1,051 1,704 1,984 653 280 933 62.1% 16.4% 88.8% 5.8%
Moultonboro 2,206 2,956 4,484 750 1528 2,278 34% 51.7% 103.3% 14.3%
Ossipee 2,465 3,309 4,211 844 902 1,746 34.2% 27.3% 70.8% 10.9%
Sandwich 905 1,066 1,286 161 220 381 17.8% 20.6% 42.1% 2.4%
Tamworth 1,672 2,165 2,510 493 345 838 29.5% 15.9% 50.1% 5.3%
Tuftonboro 1,500 1,842 2,148 342 306 648 22.8% 16.6% 43.2% 4.1%
Wakefield 2,237 3,057 4,252 820 1195 2,015 36.7% 39.1% 90.1% 12.6%
Wolfeboro 3,968 4,807 6,083 839 1276 2,115 21.1% 26.5% 53.3% 13.3%
Carroll County Total 27,931 35,592 43,887 7661 8256 15,956 27.4% 23.3% 57.1% 100%
Source: New Hampshire Office of State Planning
Although percentage growth rates are a useful tool for comparing relative growth among municipalities, it is equally important to examine the actual increase in  population within a regional context. As previously noted, Conway’s total population increased from 7,158 in 1980 to 8,604 in 2000. This represents an addition of almost 1,500 residents over the twenty year period, which represents the fifth largest actual increase of any municipality in Carroll County over the same time period. The municipalities that experienced larger numeric population gains included Moultonboro (2,728), Wolfeboro (2,115), Wakefield (2,015) and Ossipee (1,746).