3.  POPULATION

 

Westport's Population Growth

 

As the century opened in 1900, Westport had a population of 330 people, but a decline was underway that persisted for about 30 years, leaving only 108 residents on the island by 1930.  With that figure, the population had bottomed out, and it then remained at the level of about 125 persons through the Great Depression of the thirties, through World War II, and on into the post-war years.

 


Beginning in 1960, Westport began a 40-year period of rapid population growth. The Town’s population growth rate between 1960 and 1970 was 71%; from 1970-80 it was 84%, and from 1980-90 it was 58%.  Between 1960 and 1990, the Town’s population grew at a far greater rate than that of Lincoln County, as shown in Table 1, below.  However, between 1990 and 2000, the Town’s growth rate (12%) was on a par with that of Lincoln County (11%).

 

 


Table 1

Population of Westport and Lincoln County

 

 

1890

1900

1910

1920

1930

1940

Westport

451

330

284

165

108

111

Lincoln Co.

21,996

19669

18216

15.976

15,398

16,294

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1950

1960

1970

1980

1990

2000

Westport

146

133

228

420

663

745

Lincoln Co.

18,004

18,497

20,537

25,691

30,357

33,616

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Change

1960-70

Change

1970-80

Change

1980-90

Change

1990-2000

 

 

Westport

71%

84%

58%

12%

 

 

Lincoln Co.

11%

25%

18%

11%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: U.S. Census, 1890-2000

 

Population Projections

 

County-level population projections contained in the State Planning Office’s Maine County Economic Forecast (December, 1999) indicate that Lincoln County’s population as a whole will grow at an average annual rate of 1.3% for the period 1998-2005, and 1.2% for the period 2005-2010.  This translates into a 10-year growth rate of about 14.3% for the County, or an increase of about 4,800 people, resulting in a County population of about 38,400.  While it is difficult to project exactly what will happen in Westport, it is reasonable to assume, based on 1990-2000 growth rates, that the Town will grow at about the same rate as the County.  A 14.3% growth rate in Westport would result in a gain of about 107 people, resulting in a population in the year 2010 of about 852 people and 864 people by 2011.  This is a conservative figure.  The actual rate of growth may depend upon the economy, the growth of the seasonal and secondary home market, land availability and land development forces in nearby communities.

 

In January of 2002, the State Planning Office released population projections by age category for every community in the State.  These projections show an overall rate of growth similar to that described in the paragraph above.  These projections, which show declining numbers in age categories up to age 45, and increases in the categories beginning with 45-64 and above, are shown in Table 2 below.

 

 

Table 2

Population Projections

 

Age Group

 

2000

 

2001

 

2002

 

2003

 

2004

 

2005

 

2006

 

2007

 

2008

 

2009

 

2010

 

2011

0-4

30

30

29

28

27

26

26

25

25

25

25

24

5-17

136

136

136

136

135

135

135

134

134

134

134

134

18-29

55

54

53

52

52

50

50

50

50

49

49

48

30-44

152

148

145

141

137

134

130

127

124

121

119

119

45-64

243

256

269

283

295

308

320

330

340

348

356

362

65-79

100

100

100

101

102

103

104

104

107

109

112

114

80+

30

32

34

37

39

41

42

44

46

48

80

51

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total

746

756

766

778

787

797

807

814

826

814

845

852

 Source: State Planning Office

 

Population Comparisons with Surrounding Areas

 

Some idea of the magnitude of the population growth on Westport Island can be gained from Table 3, which gives figures for Westport, the surrounding towns, the County, and the State. Westport's population growth from 1970 to 1980 reached an astonishing 84%, compared with 25% for Lincoln County, and 13% for the state as a whole. During the next decade, for Westport, as for most of the surrounding area, the rate of growth dropped off. But at 58%, Westport's was still the highest rate of any in Lincoln County during the 80's.  Growth slowed even more during the 1990’s. While Westport had the highest growth rate (12%), it was on a par with that of Edgecomb (10%) and Lincoln County (11%).

 

 

Table 3

Comparative Population Change

 

 

1970

1980

1990

2000

% Change

1970-80

% Change

1980-90

% Change

1990-00

Westport

228

420

663

745

84%

58%

12%

Edgecomb

549

841

993

1,090

53%

18%

10%

Wiscasset

2,244

2,832

3,339

3,603

26%

18%

8%

Lincoln Co.

20,537

25,691

30,357

33,616

25%

18%

11%

Maine

993,722

1,125,043

1,227,928

1,274,923

13%

9%

4%

Source: U.S. Census, 1970-2000

           

Population by Age Group

 

There are several trends in the size of the various age groups on Westport Island in the years since 1970, as shown in Table 4. One of the clearest is the steady decline in the percentage of children under 5, and an overall reduction in the percentage of children between the ages of 5 and 17. There has been a marked decline in the percentage of people aged 18 to 44 (from 40% in 1990 to 28% in 2000). Finally, there has been a gradual increase since 1970 in the numbers of residents in the 45-64 age group and in the 65 and older category.  The same trends can be seen at the County level. Overall, Westport’s population is aging as indicated in the rise in the median age from 36.5 years in 1990 to 44.8 years in 2000.

 

 

Table 4

Population by Age Categories

 

 

Under 5

5-17

18-44

45-64

65 & Over

Median Age

Westport

1970

10%

27%

33%

20%

10%

 

 

1980

8%

19%

43%

20%

10%

31.8

 

1990

8%

16%

40%

22%

14%

36.5

 

2000

4%

18%

28%

33%

17%

44.8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lincoln County

1970

8%

25%

29%

23%

16%

 

 

1980

7%

21%

36%

21%

16%

33.6

 

1990

7%

18%

37%

21%

17%

37.4

 

2000

5%

18%

31%

28%

18%

42.6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: U.S. Census, 1970-2000                          

 

Average Household Size

 

Since 1970, the size of the average Westport household has declined from 3.4 persons to 2.3 in 2000. This decline is consistent with the available data for Lincoln County. The decline may reflect the relative decrease in the population of very young children on the island in the Under 5 age group during the same period, as seen in Table 4.

 

 

Table 5

Households and Household Size

 

 

 

1970

1980

1990

2000

# households

Westport

67

158

265

318

 

Lincoln Co.

 

9,494

11,968

14,158

 

Maine

 

395,184

465,312

518,200

 

 

 

 

 

 

Average hh Size

Wesport

3.4

2.7

2.5

2.3

 

Lincoln Co.

3.0

2.7

2.5

2.4

 

Maine

3.2

2.8

2.6

2.4

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: U.S. Census 1970-2000

 

Household & Per Capita Income

 

Based on data from the 1990 Census, Westport had a high per capita income and a higher median household income than Wiscasset, Edgecomb, Lincoln County or the State of Maine.

 

 

Table 6

Median Household and Per capita Income - 1989

 

 

Per capita Income

Median Household Income

Westport

$17,280

$33,500

Wiscasset

$12,260

$29,397

Edgecomb

$16,289

$32,670

Lincoln Co

$13,479

$28,373

Maine

$12,957

$27,854

 

 

 

Source: 1990 Census

 

The State Planning Office has prepared county level estimates of per capita income as well as projections to the year 2010.  These estimates and projections, which are contained in its Maine County Economic Forecast (December, 1999) indicate that Lincoln County’s per capita income figures are roughly on a par with those of the State as whole, but will increase at a slower rate than the State rate through the 2010 forecast period as shown in Table 7.

 

 

Table 7

Per Capita Personal Income

 

 

1997

2005

2010

Annual Average % Change

1997-2010

Lincoln County

$23,985

$29,682

$34,184

2.8%

Maine

$21,937

$29,417

$35,652

3.8%

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Maine County Economic Forecast, Maine State Planning Office, 1999

    

Educational Attainment

 

Based on 1990 Census data, approximately 84.3% of the year-round population of Westport has graduated from high school, compared to 81.4% at the County level and 78.8% at the State level. The percentage of Westport residents with at least a bachelor’s degree (19.6%) is somewhat higher than the State average (18.8%) but less than the average for Lincoln County (22.2%).

 

 

 

Table 8

Educational Attainment – 1990

 

 

Total # of Persons 25+ Years

% High School Grad or Higher

% Bachelor’s Degree or Higher

Westport

464

84.3%

19.6%

Lincoln County

20,674

81.4%

22.2%

Maine

795,613

78.8%

18.8%

 

 

 

 

Source: U.S. Census, 1990