Andrew Raynor Dover NH
Will Arvelo is the director of the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development. – ed.
Diversity plays a valuable role in our communities and state; from it comes fresh ideas, innovation and new ways to look at old ways. Insuring that New Hampshire’s population continues to diversify and be inclusionary is a priority of the Division of Economic Development.
Data shows that New Hampshire’s population is becoming more diverse. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the non-white population, including those that identify with two or more races, increased to 6.4 percent in 2017 and Latinos make up almost 4 percent of the population.
While these percentages may seem small in comparison to southern New England, it is undeniable that New Hampshire is changing and becoming more diverse.
As New Hampshire continues to evolve as part of a broader international community and as the U.S. continues to see significant demographic changes, the demographics within our state will also shift to reflect those changes.
In 2012, 21 percent of the U.S. population was non-white, or of two or more races. Also that year, 17 percent of the total U.S. population was of Latino/Hispanic descent. By 2060, the U.S. non-white population and those with two races or more will exceed 30 percent and those of Latino descent will also exceed 30 percent.
For our employers who are increasingly concerned about their ability to attract and retain a diverse workforce, this diversification is welcome in New Hampshire. Many are instituting initiatives to make their workplaces more welcoming and accepting of, not only different ways of thinking, but people’s differences. We also know that younger people, white and non-white, prefer to be in diverse communities, whether that be their workplaces or living spaces.
This is good for all of us.
New Hampshire, like its neighboring states, is still challenged in its efforts to attract and retain a more diverse demographic. To that end, we are focusing on ways to be a state that is welcoming, accepting, and supportive. If we are to widen our competitive advantage, we need a diverse workforce.
There are many efforts in corporations, including Eversource, Eastern Bank, Hutchinson and others, and communities building advocacy and sustainability to achieve this goal. In addition, agencies including The Endowment for Health; Diversity Workforce Coalition; NAACP of the Seacoast; AARP, Welcome New Hampshire and many others that are working to make improvements across our state.
The Governor’s Advisory Council on Diversity and Inclusion will be central to this effort, with its recommendations due later this year. They will be used to create a sweeping, unifying strategy that brings all these efforts together to leverage resources, build a collective vision, build capacity, and have deep impact within a short time.
On July 26, this group will meet to begin building a unified, strong, sustainable effort around diversity and inclusion. Doing so will make New Hampshire more welcoming and attractive within our increasingly diverse nation and it will allow us to build a society reflective of diverse ways of being and thinking. It will also allow New Hampshire to continue to build and sustain its diverse economy and remain competitive regionally, nationally, and internationally.