Maine: The Way Life Could Be 7/5/22: Shifting Demographics in Maine

Producers/Hosts: Jim Campbell and Amy Browne

This series is made possible in part by a grant from the Maine Arts Commission

Welcome to this edition of Maine: The Way Life Could Be, a series in which we look at challenges and opportunities facing Maine in the lifetimes of people alive today.

The population of Maine has been the oldest and “whitest” in the state, but even before the real estate boom during the pandemic, some of state’s demographics were starting to shift. Today we look at the 2018-2028 demographics forecast for the state, with Maine’s State Economist, Amanda Rector, author of the report. We also talk with Jim Fisher, Deer Isle Town Manager and Hancock County planner, about how some of the trends play out in real life in our communities.


Amanda Rector is the State Economist for Maine. In this capacity, she conducts ongoing analysis of Maine’s economic and demographic conditions to help inform policy decisions. Amanda is a member of the State of Maine’s Revenue Forecasting Committee and serves as the Governor’s liaison to the U. S. Census Bureau. She started working for the state in 2004 and has been State Economist since 2011. She earned a BA in Economics from Wellesley College and her Master’s in Public Policy and Management from the Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine.

Jim Fisher is the Town Manager for Deer Isle and former senior planner with the Hancock County Planning Commission. He earned a doctorate in urban regional planning from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and was a Fulbright scholar. He also hosted “Common Health” here on WERU for several years.


Maine Population Outlook, 2018-2018, Office of the State Economist

State Economist Amanda Rector presents Trends and Outlook for Maine’s Economy to the Maine Association of Mortgage Professionals, June 8, 2022

Pandemic Migration Spurs Maine’s Biggest Population Growth in Two Decades, Jessica Piper, Bangor Daily News, December 27, 2021

About the hosts:

Jim Campbell has a longstanding interest in the intersection of digital technology, law, and public policy and how they affect our daily lives in our increasingly digital world. He has banged around non-commercial radio for decades and, in the little known facts department (that should probably stay that way), he was one of the readers voicing Richard Nixon’s words when NPR broadcast the entire transcript of the Watergate tapes. Like several other current WERU volunteers, he was at the station’s sign-on party on May 1, 1988 and has been a volunteer ever since doing an early stint as a Morning Maine host, and later producing WERU program series including Northern Lights, Conversations on Science and Society, Sound Portrait of the Artist, Selections from the Camden Conference, others that will probably come to him after this is is posted, and, of course, Notes from the Electronic Cottage.

Amy Browne started out at WERU as a volunteer news & public affairs producer in 2000, co-hosting/co-producing RadioActive with Meredith DeFrancesco. She joined the team of Voices producers a few years later, and has been WERU’s News & Public Affairs Manager since January, 2006. In addition to RadioActive, Voices, Maine Currents and Maine: The Way Life Could Be, Amy also produced and hosted the WERU News Report for several years. She has produced segments for national programs including Free Speech Radio News, This Way Out, Making Contact, Workers Independent News, Pacifica PeaceWatch, and Live Wire News, and has contributed to Democracy Now and the WBAI News Report. She is the recipient of the 2014 Excellence in Environmental Journalism Award from the Sierra Club of Maine, and Maine Association of Broadcasters awards for her work in 2017 and 2021.