2010 Census shows growth trends

By Gail Geraghty
Staff Writer

Bridgton’s population grew by 6.7% in the 2010 Census, but the biggest growth spurts were reported in Naples and Harrison, where population grew by 18.3% and 17.9%, respectively.

Bridgton’s population is now officially over the 5,000 mark, at 5,210 residents, up from 4,883 in 2000. Raymond, which saw a 3.2% increase in population, is not far behind, at 4,436 residents, up from 4,299 in 2000. Naples is just behind Raymond at 3,872 residents, up from 3,274 in 2000, and Casco is the fourth largest town in the Greater Bridgton region, at a population of 3,742, up from 3,469.

Fryeburg also saw respectable growth, showing an 11.9% increase from 3,083 to 3,449 residents, and the smaller towns of Baldwin and Denmark showed a percentage of growth of 18.2 and 14.3%, respectively.

Countywide, Cumberland County’s population grew by 6%, from 265,612 in 2000 to 281,674 in 2010 — the fastest rate of growth of any of Maine’s 16 counties. Statewide, the population of Maine has grown by 4.2%, from 1,274,923 residents to 1,328,361 residents.

Looking beyond simple population counts, the U.S. Census’ American Fact Finder Website provides some revealing numbers on poverty levels in the Greater Bridgton towns. In Bridgton, 15.3% of the population lived below the poverty level in the last 12 months. For female householders with no husband present and a child under the age of 18, that number skyrockets to 50.7% — significantly higher than the county average of 35% for that demographic.

“This is alarming,” said Alan Manoian, Bridgton’s Director of Economic and Community Development. “Everyone should be alarmed about this. I have never seen this in my 20 years of public service as a planner.”

Manoian will be using the 2010 Census information to update the town’s comprehensive plan. He relates the high poverty rates in Bridgton to the large amount of services it provides to economically disadvantaged people, including food pantries, clothes closets and a high amount of low-income rental units.

In Naples, the 12-month poverty level for all families was 11.8%, jumping to 48% for single females with children under 18; in Harrison, the poverty level was 8.4%, and 27% for single females; in Naples, the poverty level was 11.8% and 48.3% for single females; in Casco, the poverty level was 12.1% and 40.2% for single women; in Fryeburg, the poverty level was 15.8% and 57.4% for single females.

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