April 21, 2017


Maine's Immigrants Boost Workforce Of Whitest, Oldest State In U.S. (Hansi Lo Wang, 4/20/17, All Things Considered)

A demographic crisis looms over Maine, the oldest and whitest state in the U.S. with one of the country's lowest birth rates.

Employers are already feeling the effects on Maine's workforce as they struggle to fill positions with "old Mainers" -- long-time residents in a state where many take pride in their deep family roots, especially along the shores of Washington County.[...]

Large communities of mainly Somali and Sudanese refugees have formed in Maine's largest cities, Portland and Lewiston. Rudelitch says Washington County also needs more immigrants and other newcomers to help sustain the local economy.

"We're making the argument that over time, there will be a much bigger economy for all of us to have a share of if we welcome people who choose to move here," he says.

Newcomers have been moving to the county, specifically to the small town of Milbridge, with a population of just over 1,300, according to the 2010 Census.

While Latinos make up just over 1 percent of Maine's residents, about 6 percent of Milbridge's residents are Latino, many of them families drawn by jobs in lobster processing, blueberry picking and wreath making.

Maria Paniagua Albor works in the office of a lobster processing plant, where she says most of the workers are Hispanic, either from Puerto Rico or Mexico. The white workers, she says, she can count on one hand.

Posted by at April 21, 2017 6:15 AM


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