A woman walks a small dog by Fort Sumner Park atop Munjoy Hill in Portland on Nov. 26, 2019. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

Maine’s meager population growth over the past decade was almost entirely driven by the southern part of the state, while much of northern and western Maine lost population, new data from the U.S. Census Bureau show.

The state’s overall population grew by 2.6 percent — just shy of 34,000 people — over the past decade, according to data released earlier this year. But the changes were uneven, with Cumberland and York counties adding more than 36,000 people combined. Aroostook County lost more than 4,700 people alone, while ​​Washington, Franklin, Piscataquis, Somerset, Penobscot and Oxford counties saw smaller losses.

Notably, the population growth within southern Maine was not limited to Portland. Maine’s largest city saw its population increase by 3.3 percent to 68,408, the Census found. But surrounding cities and towns saw larger increases, with the population of Westbrook increasing by a whopping 16.6 percent over the decade to 20,400.

The cities of Lewiston and Auburn both continued to grow, but at slower rates than many municipalities in southern Maine. Lewiston saw its population grow by 1.4 percent to 37,121, while Auburn grew by 4.4 percent to 23,055.

Bangor saw its population drop by 3.8 percent to 31,753, a slightly larger proportionate drop than the rest of Penobscot County. Across the river, however, Brewer saw a 2 percent population increase. Orono saw the greatest population rise in Penobscot County, increasing by 8 percent to 11,183.