‘Communities & Consequences’ sequel published
New book, documentary to further explore effect of demographics on NH’s ‘human ecology’
A sequel to “Communities & Consequences: The Unbalancing of New Hampshire’s Human Ecology, and What We Can Do about It,” the prescient book that explored how New Hampshire’s aging demographics resulted in unbalanced growth and posed a threat to the state’s economic future, has been published by Peter E. Randall Publisher of Portsmouth.
Written by demographer Peter Francese and Lorraine Stuart Merrill, a writer and former state agriculture commissioner, “Communities & Consequences II: Rebalancing New Hampshire’s Human Ecology” updates and augments the arguments the authors first presented in their 2008 book by discussing the economic and social realities of workforce shortages.
With New Hampshire now the second-oldest state in the nation, the authors describe how its age structure needs rebalancing before shortages of workers cripple the economy and impede the state’s ability to provide emergency services and health and elder care for the rapidly growing numbers of older residents.
Declining numbers of children and young people are of even greater concern than increases in people over 65, they write. Nationally, school-age children outnumber seniors, but New Hampshire now has 22% more residents over 65 than school-age children. The authors show how state and local policies contribute to the lack of affordable housing, high cost of higher education and resulting student debt burden that have driven young people to look elsewhere for opportunities.
As with the original book, there will be an accompanying documentary film by Jay Childs that will air on NHPBS.