States of the Presidential Race: New Hampshire

January 22, 2016

The New Hampshire primary, for both the Republican and Democratic parties, is on February 9.  New Hampshire’s voting-age population is overwhelmingly white and relatively old, and its economy is strong even for New England. Here’s what you need to know about the state hosting the first primary.

Demographics

New Hampshire’s voting-age population (just over 1 million in 2014) is overwhelmingly non-Hispanic white (92.6 percent). It’s also relatively old and getting older relative to the nation.

In 2014, 19.9 percent of New Hampshire’s voting-age residents were older than age 64, compared with 18.9 percent of the US voting-age population. By 2030, 28.8 percent of New Hampshire’s voting-age population will be age 65 or older; nationally, this group will fall to 18.3 percent.

NH demographics

Learn more about New Hampshire’s population with Urban’s Mapping America’s Futures.

Economy

Unemployment rate: 3.1% (December 2015)*

Peak unemployment rate during the Great Recession: 6.6% (June-July 2009)

Average weekly earnings, private employment: $850 (December 2015)*

House prices compared with one year ago: +5.4% (third quarter 2015)

Among the Census’s nine geographic divisions, New England’s 4.7 percent December unemployment rate* was second lowest (the western half of the Midwest had the lowest rate). Still, New Hampshire’s 3.1 percent unemployment rate* stands out even in this relatively well-performing region. Its December rate was the lowest among New England states (Vermont’s 3.6 percent rate* was second lowest) and the fourth-lowest rate in the United States. Only North Dakota (2.7 percent), Nebraska (2.9 percent), and South Dakota (2.9 percent)* had lower unemployment rates that month. 

updated NH unemployment data

Learn more about New Hampshire’s economy with Urban’s State Economic Monitor.

Health care and the Affordable Care Act (ACA)

Unlike most states, New Hampshire has just one rating area, which means premiums are the same for all New Hampshirites, regardless of where they live. Despite relatively low 2015 silver plan premiums (compared with other states), premiums only increased slightly in 2016.

In 2015, New Hampshire had one of the highest proportions in the country of residents selecting plans in the ACA marketplace without using tax credits, relative to Urban Institute projections. This may have been the result of the state's well-coordinated, community-based approach to outreach and enrollment assistance, particularly its reliance on existing trusted relationships within all communities, not just those in low-income areas.

NH ACA data

Learn more about New Hampshire and the ACA from Urban’s Health Policy Center.

Higher education

Only 46 percent of public college students in New Hampshire are state residents— the third-lowest share among the states and well below the national average (80 percent). And students that stay in the state to attend public schools face hefty tuition costs. New Hampshire’s public four-year colleges have the highest tuition in the country ($15,160, compared with $9,410 nationally), and its two-year colleges have the second-highest tuition ($6,512, compared with $3,435 nationally).

NH higher education

Learn more about New Hampshire and higher education with Urban’s Financing Public Higher Education dashboard.

*These numbers were updated on January 27, 2016 to reflect the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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