5. Household Characteristics

5. Household Characteristics
The population growth and age distribution of Conway’s residents, combined with the nationwide trend of an increase in the number of single-parent households, has resulted in a corresponding impact on household growth and size. Currently the average household in Conway is comprised of 2.27 persons. As shown in Table 3-5, this represents a decrease of 0.10 persons (4.2%) between 1990 and 2000, and 0.10 persons (4%) between 1980 and 1990. Carroll County households, although a bit larger, are shrinking at a slightly slower pace as compared to Conway households. Households throughout the entire County experienced a similar reduction in size (4.1%) as Conway households (4.2%) during the 1990s.
As a result of this reduction in household size, combined with a modest increase in population, the number of households increased at a faster rate than population growth. For example, while Conway’s population grew by 11.5% in the 1980s and 8.4% between 1990 and 2000, household growth, as shown in Table 3-6, increased by 14.8% and 12.3% over the same respective time periods. Projections for the next five years indicates that household growth rates should be virtually identical to each jurisdiction’s population growth rate.
In terms of income trends, the Town of Conway currently has a median household income of approximately $35,500 – which represents an increase of approximately $8,700 (32%) since 1990, and $14,200 (113%) between 1980 and 1990. As shown in Table 3-7, Conway’s median household income is slightly less than the County’s median household income level for all the time periods presented. However, although Conway’s income level is slightly less, it increased by approximately 5% more than the County’s level over the same time periods. Income projections indicate that existing household income characteristics in Conway and Carroll County should continue over the next five years, with the County having a slightly higher income level while Conway experiences a larger income growth rate. With Conway’s consistently higher income growth rates over the past twenty years, as compared to the County, the disparity between Conway and the County’s income level should be virtually nil by
2006-2010. That being said, addressing affordable housing issues on a regional scale should also be recognized.
As shown in Figure 3-2, between 1990 and 2001, Conway experienced a gradual shift of households out of lower income brackets into higher income brackets. This is particularly evident in the $75,000 to $99,999 and $100,000 and over brackets, where the number of households in each bracket increased by 194 (216%) and 95 (106%), respectively, between 1990 and 2001. Despite these gains, the total number of households with incomes below $25,000, which represents approximately 50% of the median family income in nonmetropolitan areas of New Hampshire[1], was estimated at 1,248 households – representing about 35% of the total households. Based on this percentage, it appears that there are still a significant number of households in financial need within Conway. Furthermore, of the 1,248 households earning below $25,000, approximately 35% were headed by individuals who are 65 years or older.
As indicated in Table 3-8, although Carroll County currently has a slightly higher percentage of households in the upper-income levels ($75,000 or more), both the County and Conway have a similar distribution of households across all other income levels. Additionally, between 1990 and 2001, the growth of upperincome
households in Conway increased by 161% - a pace which is comparable but slightly less than the 163% growth experienced in the County.