DEMOGRAPHICS

NOUN: (used with a pl. verb) The characteristics of human populations and population segments: "The demographics of the Whitefield indicate a growing population of homeowners who have second homes."


Total Population

Whitefield's population has not seen steady growth throughout our history. Indeed, it wasn't until the about 5 years ago that our population was equal to that of 1850. That being said, the percentage of growth in the past 10 years was more than any time in our 200 year history. Since 1990, Whitefield has grown by over 350 people - an increase of  18%.



click here for Whitefield Census 2000 data

There is, of course, no bad news here unless you feel that the character of our town is at risk. Growth cannot be stopped, nor should it be. 

The strength and character of a community is enhanced by its diversity. Diversity of ages, occupations, ethnicity, and economics. We know this model from our own great country. 

Who comes to Whitefield will be determined by what the town has to attract them. Think for a moment about that statement. Try making a list of Whitefield's attributes that would attract people who would make Whitefield a better place. 

Occupations

In 1906 there were 209 men in Whitefield who listed their occupation as farmers, and 253 women listed their occupation as homemaker - this is out of the 1906 population of 1000 people. By those percentages there would be 523 men farming in Whitefield today. Occupational diversity is a strength of Whitefield today.

Potential Population Density

Our current minimum lot size ordinance requires that each new dwelling have a minimum of 1 1/2 acres. The major reason the minimum lot ordinance passed was because of the perceived threat of mobile home concentrations. In the 1970's people were very concerned about a potential school population explosion caused by multiple mobile homes paying very little taxes to support the school.

Since that ordinance was passed there have been a several observations, that in hindsight, should have been considered before developing the ordinance.
* This sort of ordinance virtually prohibited the development or expansion of villages in Whitefield.
* This sort of ordinance ignores those fragile areas of our town that cannot support that density of dwellings. 
* The notion that "if you want your town to look like New Jersey, then zone like New Jersey". That is - the whole Town was zoned to a specific maximum density. (no intent to malign NJ, this is an actual quote)
* In our efforts to secure funding for a senior housing facility we learned that it would need to purchase 1 1/2 acres for each dwelling unit - a notion that funders were not going to entertain.

This all begs the questions:

If there is wisdom in having shoreland zones, why shouldn't housing density be determined also by zones?

Does a uniform minimum lot size in any way restrict the diversity that adds to the character of a community?

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