The population of young adults (25-34) in all New England states
declined much more sharply than the national average from 1990 to 2004, a
new fact sheet from the Carsey Institute at the University of New
Hampshire finds. During that time period, the population of young adults
in New England declined nearly 25 percent, compared to the national
average decline of 7 percent.
PDF DOWNLOAD OF STUDY highlights:
The Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire supports research
on families and communities and also provides resources to University
faculty and students interested in interdisciplinary research.
Cynthia Mildred Duncan, director
73 Main Street , Huddleston Hall G05B
University of New Hampshire
Durham, NH 03824
Young adults flee Bay State
By Hillary Chabot
[North Adams] Transcript Statehouse Bureau
Published: 01/15/2007 11:55:55 AM EST
Monday, January 15
BOSTON -- Young adults are earning their college degrees in Massachusetts
and leaving town, taking their eager work ethic, vitality and young
families with them, according to a new study. Massachusetts' total
population has dwindled over the past 14 years but young adults between
the ages of 25 and 34 are disappearing the fastest, according to a study
out of the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire.
And they're not just leaving the Bay state. All six New England states
rank in the top 10 in the country when it comes to losing members of
"It really effects the economic and social character of the region.
Businesses that are growing fast, such as technology fields, need the
energy of entry-level workers, and if there's a decline in this group they
may look to settle elsewhere," said Ross Gittell, author of the study.
Every single county out of the 67 across New England has lost young adults
since 1990 except for Nantucket, Gittell found. Berkshire County lost 34
percent, Worcester County lost 20 percent, and Windham County in Vermont
lost a whopping 41 percent.
The loss not only threatens the state politically in
terms of congressional representation, but also has more subtle
implications, said Sen. Steven Panagiotakos, D-Lowell.
"We have a very aging population and we have one of the best benefits
systems, but you need those young entrepreneurial working-class people to
support that system. Losing people in the 25 to 34 age group hurts us
today, but it hurts us even more 10 years from now when those people would
be getting into the prime of their business careers," Panagiotakos said.
Although universities and colleges in the state attract young adults, the
Bay State is unable to keep them, leading to a "brain drain" of skilled
"Our greatest resource is our highly skilled workforce, if that erodes we
will lose our competitive edge," Panagiotakos said.
Massachusetts could lose up to 40 percent of its young workers who have
bachelor's degrees by 2020, according to a study by the Nellie Mae
Once those young workers are gone, it gets harder to attract investors and
expand businesses and the area begins to be "branded as old and cold,"
said John Schneider, interim president at MassInc, a public policy think
tank. Communities are also losing out on the innovations and tolerance
younger generations bring into a community, said Schneider.
"Younger people bring new ideas and new ways of thinking about things and
more diversity and we lose that element. It's not just work force but also
to the contributions young people make to civic and cultural community,"
State Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli, D-Lee, hopes to work with the new
governor to entice young adults to stay here, saying a creative job market
might keep them.
"We need to revitalize economy in Massachusetts region by region. The
market here in the Berkshires is very different than the market in
Boston," Pignatelli said.
Massachusetts has lost 20 percent of its young adults over the past 14
years, tying with Rhode Island. Vermont and New Hampshire lost even more
with 27 percent, followed by Maine at 29 percent and Connecticut with the
highest percentage of young adults at 30 percent.
Part of the loss is because the young adult generation isn't as big as the
baby boomer generation. But other states, such as Nevada and Utah, are
seeing increases in young adults by up to 60 percent.
The high cost of housing and an unstable job market have chased the
youngsters away, said Schneider.
Gov. Deval Patrick spoke about the state's population loss many times
during his campaign and plans on working to create more affordable
housing, said spokesman Kyle Sullivan.
"Governor Patrick has pledged to prioritize the integration of housing
opportunities with economic development and job creation to give these
young people a reason to stay put in the commonwealth and start a career
and raise a family," Sullivan said.
In addition to attracting jobs and lowering housing costs, Schneider
believes New England just has to market herself a little better.
"I don't think we've really branded ourselves or advertised that we're a
welcoming place with great recreational opportunities, nightclubs and
universities. I don't think we've done a good job reminding the rest of
country that Greater Boston and New England is a good place to live,"
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