Over the next 30 years, Newport’s population will decrease by about 24 percent according to a report released by the state Division of Planning last week. The 2010 population of 24,672 would sink to 18,758 by 2040, according to the report.
Middletown's population is projected to go down 25 percent in the same time period.
Newport's population has already dipped 2.4 percent between 2005 and 2010 and is expected to drop an additional 5.2 percent by 2015, according to the analysis.
The statewide projections anticipate population loss through 2015, then a period of modest growth rates and enter into another period decline by 2035.
The report cited Rhode Island’s economic challenges as the primary reason for the population decline. Rhode Island is not expected to regain the employment lost during the recession until later in the decade. This is based primarily on the fact that Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training projects that by 2020, the state will only see an increase of 3.4 percent from the pre-recession 2006 employment.
"Slow population growth and an aging population will have significant impacts on jobs and economic development, the housing market, the state's healthcare system, and the finance of retirement benefits," stated a news release attached to the report.