New Hampshire


Immigration Facts
Summary Demographic State Data (and Source)
Population (2012 CB est.) 1,320,718
Population (2000 CB est.) 1,235,786
Foreign-Born Population (2012 CB est.) 84,961
Foreign-Born Population (2000 CB est.) 54,154
Share Foreign-Born (2012) 6.4 %
Share Foreign-Born (2000) 4.1%
Naturalized U.S. Citizens (2012 CB est.): 34,864
Share Naturalized (2012) 41.0 %
Legal Immigrant Admission (DHS 2001 – 2012) 25,740
Refugee Admission (HHS 2000 – 2012) 7,573
Illegal Alien Population (2010 FAIR est.) 15,000
Costs of Illegal Aliens (2009 FAIR) $123,187,215
Projected 2050 Population (2006 FAIR) 1,822,000

State Population

According to the Census Bureau, the population of New Hampshire in 2012 was 1,320,718 residents.

Between 2000 (population 1,235,786) and 2012, the state's average annual population change was 6,933 residents. That was an annual average change of 0.5 percent. The comparable national annual rate of change was 0.9 percent.

Between 1990 (population 1,109,252) and 2000, the state's annual average population change was 12,653 residents. The annual average rate of change was 1.1 percent compared to the national rate of change of 1.2 percent.

Foreign-Born Population

According to the Census Bureau the foreign-born population of New Hampshire was about 84,961 persons in 2012. This estimate meant a foreign-born population share of 6.4 percent. The chart above shows the long-term change in the state's foreign-born population based on Census Bureau data.

Foreign-Born Change

Between 2000 and 2012 the Census Bureau estimate indicates an average annual rate of change in the foreign-born population of about 2,515 people, compared to the state's annual average population change of about 6,933  people. That is a 36.3  percent share of the state's population change (not including the children born in the United States to illegal aliens). The foreign-born population grew by 56.9 percent between 2000 and 2012.

Immigration also contributes to population growth through the U.S.-born children of immigrants. Nationally the share of births to the foreign-born is about double their share of the population. A 12.8 percent share of the state's current births is large enough to account for about 1,690 births a year. Combining the average increase in the foreign-born population and estimated immigrant births suggests that immigration may account for about 4,205 persons added to the state's population annually, i.e., nearly 60.6 percent of the state's overall population increase.

As of 2012 about 35.9 percent of New Hampshire's foreign-born population had arrived in the state since 2000. This compares with the national average 40.9 percent. In 2000, 37.3 percent of the state's foreign-born population that had arrived since the previous Census.

Foreign-Born Characteristics

An indicator of the change in New Hampshire's immigrant population may be seen in data on the share of the population over five years of age that speaks a language other than English at home. Between 2000 and 2012, the share of non-English speakers changed from 8.3 percent to 7.9 percent. In 2000, 29.2 percent of those persons in also said they spoke English less than very well. In the 2012 estimate, the share was 30.2 percent that spoke English less than very well. In 2012 Spanish speakers were 25.6 percent of those who spoke other than English at home, and 29.6 percent of those who spoke English less than very well.

The chart above shows the regional composition of the state's foreign-born population and how it has changed from between 2000 and 2012.


Census Bureau data in 2012 indicate that 34,864 residents of New Hampshire, or 41.0 percent of the foreign-born population in New Hampshire, were naturalized U.S. citizens, compared to 25,761 residents, or 47.6 percent, in 2000.

Nationally, 40.3 percent of the foreign-born population was naturalized in 2000, and 45.8 percent in 2012.

Net International Migration (NIM)

Data from the Current Population Survey (CPS), the Census Bureau estimated that between 2000 and 2012, the change in New Hampshire's population resulting from net international migration has been about 3,740 people. It was 32.6 percent of total change (not including the children born to the immigrants after their arrival in the United States). 1   The remainder was due to net domestic migration and natural change (births minus deaths).


  1. A negative percentage results when there was an overall population decrease. A percentage greater than 100 percent results when domestic migration is negative, i.e, a net loss from interstate migration.

Immigrant Admissions

Recent "green card" recipients who intend to reside in New Hampshire were 125 percent above admissions just after adoption of the current immigration system in 1965. During the 1965 to 1969 period, annual admissions averaged about 1,107 persons. During the most recent five years, annual admissions averaged about 2,490 persons. Immigrant admissions data are from the Yearbook of Immigration Statistics.

The chart above shows recent immigrant admissions and the cumulative amount of immigrant admissions since FY'65. The cumulative total of immigrant admissions to New Hampshire between fiscal years 1965 and 2012 has been 65,429 persons.

The data for fiscal years 1989-91 were artificially raised by the inclusion of former illegal aliens who were amnestied in 1986. According to INS data (1991) the number of amnesty applicants from New Hampshire was 594 (306 pre-1982 residents and 288 agricultural workers). These data were published by the Immigration and Naturalization Service and reported in "Report on the Legalized Alien Population," March 1992.

Admissions by Nationality: FY'96 - FY'05

The table below furnishes INS data by nationality on the immigrants who were admitted for residence in New Hampshire between 1996 and 2005.

The INS data are for nationals of the countries with the largest number of immigrants admitted or adjusted to legal residence each year since 1996. The absence of data means that the total number of admissions to the United States by nationals of that country was not enough to merit detailed reporting in that year.

The Department of Homeland Security website has detailed data on immigrant admissions since FY'03 by year and by source country and intended state of residence. (See then select the desired year, click Legal Permanent Residents, data and then select "supplemental table 1."

Chart of Immigrant Admission by Fiscal Year


New Hampshire has received 7,573 refugees over the most recent ten fiscal years including 363 refugees in fiscal year 2012. The chart above shows the annual admissions over the last ten years and the cumulative total of those admissions using data complied by the Office of Refugee Resettlement in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The U.S. government program that distributes new refugees among the states is the only immigration program that provides state governments the opportunity to participate in deciding how many newcomers will come to that state each year.

Illegal Aliens

New Hampshire Fiscal Costs
Due to Illegal Aliens
           ($M) (Pct.)
K-12 educ. $54.60 44.3%
LEP educ. $11.10 9.0%
Medicaid+ $8.80 7.1%
SCHIP $3.90 3.2%
Justice $7.80 6.3%
Welfare+ $13.30 10.8%
General $23.70 19.2%
Total $123.20  
Tax receipts $1.60  
Net Cost $121.60  
Source: "The State Cost Studies"

FAIR Estimate - FAIR estimates the illegal alien population of New Hampshire as of 2010 was about 15,000 persons. This is part of an overall estimate of the U.S. illegal alien population of about 11,900,000 persons.

DHS Estimate - The current estimate by DHS of the illegal alien population in New Hampshire was n/a in 2012. The DHS estimate is available for only the 10 states with the largest illegal alien populations. The DHS estimate of the national illegal alien population in 2012 was 11,430,000.

Other Estimates - The Pew Hispanic Center estimates the illegal alien population of the state at 15,000 as of 2010.

Fiscal Cost of Illegal Aliens

FAIR's most recent estimate of the cost outlays due to illegal immigration and tax receipts from illegal aliens in New Hampshire are as shown on the right:

Limited English Proficiency Students

Data are not available nationally on immigrant students (either legally or illegally resident in the United States) who are enrolled in primary and secondary schools (K-12). However, a large majority of these students enrolled in Limited English Proficiency/English Language Learning (LEP/ELL) instruction programs may be assumed to be children of either legal or illegal immigrants with a predominance of children of illegal aliens.

In New Hampshire, LEP public school enrollment in 2010 ( 4,840 ) was 195.9 percent of LEP enrollment a decade earlier. By contrast, overall K-12 enrollment in the state was 96.1 percent of enrollment a decade earlier.

Population Projection

FAIR projected New Hampshire's population in 2050 likely would be between 1,787,000 million and 1,822,000 million with current levels of immigration. Alternatively, the population could be lower (1,641,000) if immigration were reduced to a level where it balanced the number of U.S. residents leaving to reside outside of the United states, i.e., zero-net immigration. See "Projecting the U.S. Population to 2050: Four Immigration Scenarios," FAIR 2006.

Foreign Students

Data compiled by the Institute of International Education (IIE) record the number of foreign students attending post-secondary school in New Hampshire as 3,095 in 2013.

The chart above illustrates the change in the number of foreign students attending school in New Hampshire since 1997.

For information on foreign student issues see: Foreign Students in the United States.

Immigration Impact


Long thought of as a state of vast open spaces and farmland, population growth is changing the character of New Hampshire. Open space is disappearing, farmland is being eaten up, and growth-related problems like traffic and school overcrowding are beginning to emerge. Throughout the state, communities are trying to fight back with growth management ordinances (already in place in Barnstead, Loudon, Chichester, and Bow), 1 but as long as population continues to increase, such measures will eventually run up against population pressures.


Disappearing open space: Each year, New Hampshire loses 12,500 acres of open space and farmland due to development.2 Between 1982 and 1997 over 150,000 acres were converted to developed land, a 37 percent increase in total developed land in just 15 years. Between 1983 and 1997 forestland shrank by 9,600 acres a year. Floodplain forests have almost been eliminated, and the numbers of pine barrens have been substantially reduced. 3

Education: Between 1990 and 2000, New Hampshire's elementary and high school enrollment increased 25 percent.4 The Manchester School District enrolled 800 more students than it did the previous year. This increase in the student population forced the school board to free up $122,000 for unbudgeted textbooks.5 Overcrowding at one Litchfield school is so severe that classes are being held in the library, study hall is now in the cafeteria, and the computer lab has been set up on a stage.6

Traffic: As population growth put more traffic on the roads, the average commute for New Hampshire residents increased 66 percent during the 1990s, from 15 minutes to 25 minutes in 2005.7,8 24% of New Hampshire's major urban roads are congested. 30% of New Hampshire's major roads are in poor or mediocre condition, and vehicle travel on New Hampshire's highways increased 34% from 1990 to 2003. Driving on roads in need of repair costs New Hampshire motorists $236 million a year in extra vehicle repairs and operating costs $243 per motorist. 9

The state plans to double the size of Interstate 93 from four lanes to eight, which is raising concerns over growth in Derry, 40 miles north of Boston. Already, only 8,000 acres remain undeveloped in the town, and its population is expected to increase by another 29 percent in the next 20 years.10 16 percent of commuters in New Hampshire have a commute is 45 minutes or more. 11

Crowded housing: In 2005 over 6,000 New Hampshire households were defined as crowded or severely crowded by housing authorities. 12 Studies show that a rise in crowded housing often correlates with an increase in the number of foreign-born.13,14

Poverty: In 2005 12.2 percent of immigrants in New Hampshire had incomes below the poverty level, and increase of 92.6 percent since 2000. Among non-citizens, the poverty rate climbs to 19.2 percent.15

Solid Waste: New Hampshire's solid waste disposal capacity will reach its limit by 2010, according to a report issued by a governor's task force. The task force found that one of the major contributions to the increase in waste disposal is the state's population growth.16 New Hampshire generates .95 tons of solid waste per capita. 17

Air Quality: Hillsborough County received a grade of "F" from the American Lung Association in their "State of the Air 2005" report. Strafford County received a grade of "D", and four other counties received a grade of "C". 18

Water: By 2050 the state's population is expected to rise from 1.3 million in 2006 to over 1.8 million.19 New Hampshire has a daily, per-capita water demand of 78.5 gallons.20 This means that by 2050 public water usage will have increased by 39.3 million gallons each day.

Acid Rain: New Hampshire receives some of the highest amounts of acid rain in North America, attributed to high energy consumption activities associated with oil burning. Acid rain and mercury pollution have contaminated most inland freshwater fisheries in New Hampshire; habitat loss and over-fishing have severely depleted coastal fisheries.21


  1. Anne Saunders, "More Towns Seek to Restrict Growth," Manchester Union Leader, January 24, 2003.
  2. "State Rankings by Acreage and Rate of Non-Federal Land Developed," Natural Resources Conservation Service, United States Department of Agriculture.
  3. " U.S. State Reports on Population and the Environment: New Hampshire," Center for Environment and Population.
  4. Table DP-1-4, Profile of General Demographic Characteristics: 1990 and 2000, Census 2000, U.S. Census Bureau.
  5. Katharine McQuaid, " Manchester School Enrollment Up 776 Students," Manchester Union Leader, September 11, 2002.
  6. "Litchfield Schools Overcrowded," Associated Press, September 18, 2002.
  7. Table DP-1-4, Profile of General Demographic Characteristics: 1990 and 2000, Census 2000, U.S. Census Bureau.
  8. Selected Economic Characteristics:2005 Data Set - 2005 American Community Survey, American Fact Finder, U.S. Census Bureau.
  9. Report Card for America's Infrastructure 2005," American Society of Civil Engineers.
  10. James Vaznis, "Specter of Past Uncontrolled Growth Haunts Town," Boston Globe, October 6, 2002.
  11. "U.S. Population 2007 Data Sheet," Population Reference Bureau.
  12. Selected Housing Characteristics: 2005 Data Set - 2005 American Community Survey, American Fact Finder, U.S. Census Bureau.
  13. Haya El Nasser, "U.S. Neighborhoods Grow More Crowded," USA Today, July 7, 2002.
  14. Randy Capps, "Hardship Among Children of Immigrants: Findings from the 1999 National Survey of America's Families," Urban Institute, 2001.
  15. "New Hampshire State Factsheet," Migration Information Source, Migration Policy Institute.
  16. "Rental Housing for America's Poor Families: Farther Out of Reach than Ever," National Low Income Housing Coalition, 2002.
  17. Report Card for America's Infrastructure 2005," American Society of Civil Engineers.
  18. "State of the Air 2005: New Hampshire", American Lung Association.
  19. Jack Martin and Stanley Fogel. "Projecting the U.S. Population to 2050." FAIR. March 2006.
  20. U.S. Geological Survey 2000.
  21. Ibid


Other Resources  

State Local Reform Organizations

State Representatives Voting Record


Updated February 2012