New Hampshire is Attracting Young People

December 10, 2018

by Rob Roper

Young people are flocking to New Hampshire. What do they have that we don’t? Or, perhaps the better question is, what does New Hampshire not have that Vermont does?

Governor Scott made Vermont’s demographic crisis a focal point, stating at one point that he would like to see our state population rise to 700,000 (from 620,000) by the end of a decade. Our population woes have been in the spotlight for a long time. The Ethan Allen Institute published Off the Rails, a warning on the topic, in 2006. However, no policy or set of policies since then has done anything to help the situation. We continue to age, we continue to lose working age adults, and, when they leave, they take their school age kids with them, so our K-12 population has dropped by 30,000 over the past two decades.

This is no longer the case next door in New Hampshire. Although our neighbor to the east did suffer a loss of young, working age people during and after the 2008 recession, now the Nashua Telegraph reports, Young adults moving to the Granite State. Analyzing census data, the Telegraph concludes that between 2013 to 2017, roughly 5,900 people moved to New Hampshire from other parts of the country each year, with a noticeable increase in the last three years. Moreover, the article states,

…the transformation was most significant among people in their 20s with an average annual migration gain of 1,200 between 2013 and 2017, compared to an average annual loss of 1,500 from 2008 to 2012. 

Additionally, during the same period, the net annual migration gain nearly doubled among people in their 30s.

So, how come New Hampshire is successful in seducing twenty and thirty-somethings while Vermont is one of only two states to see a net decline in population? Maybe – just maybe — the fact that New Hampshire has no sales tax and no income tax has something to do with this. And the fact that New Hampshire lawmakers have gone out of their way to make the state more business friendly by lowering business taxes and reducing regulations.

Yes, the fact that southern New Hampshire is a long but doable commute to Boston is an advantage Vermont does not have and cannot replicate, but not everybody looking for an alternative to living in a metropolis like Boston or New York wants or needs to commute. Many are just looking for a place with a lower cost of living that still has opportunities to build a career. New Hampshire is working to make sure they offer both. Vermont politicians seem hell bent on offering neither. We can see the results.

— Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

GeogeK December 10, 2018 at 5:03 pm

Cost of living, in these times, is a KEY issue ,when choosing a place to live.
That’s why so many retirees are leaving Vermont. …and young people aren’t coming.
Gov.Scotts gesture of not taxing social security for retirees who make under 50K…is popular ( 50 % of VT tax filers earn 25K, or less)…however is falls way short of preserving the taxpayers who VT can’t afford to loose. Specifically, it’s the retirees whose haves household income of 100K plus. You see 12% of Vt taxpayers pay 70% of state income tax revenue. Half of the 12% are retirees who make 100k plus, and they are the ones who are running for the exits. Why?….why stay in Vt all winter ,when your tax savings alone can pay for another home in a no tax state?…
There needs to be some serious number crunching in Montpelier to figure out how to keep this state fiscally alive., cause it’s dying a slow death now. I’ve studied the no/ or low income tax solution….and it’s a win win. Retirees don’t want to go south but many do for economic reasons…if Vt was a zero tax state for the retirees, people looking to save money will come….with their money. They would buy real estate, patronize our hospitals,and restaurants and stores, they would hire service people….and they wouldn’t be putting kids in schools ,driving up education costs. If you calculate a 40,000 increase in population over 5 years, and multiply that by $25,000 per person…your talking 1 BILLION economic activity. ( and this is purposely lowballed….25k per year per person is low, – average Vt 2016 income is 57k…). No taxes for retirees, and Low taxes for wage earners will give people a reason to come to VT. There will be homes and retirement communities to build, there will be a need for more nurses ,doctors, hospitals,, …and considering that Vermont’s tax revenue is a paltry 150 million, this would be far outweighed by the overall economic activity, and sales tax.
The notion of paying young people to come….is a waste of money, cause odds are they will leave., and even if they stay and have 2 kids, in todays dollars ,it’s costing$22k per student for education a year….so a young family of 4 costs the state 10k, plus 22k x2= $54000 the first year they are here..!?


Jack O'Callaghan December 10, 2018 at 8:09 pm

I find it ironic that the founder of Ethan Allen Institute and former VT House Representative, John McClaughry himself voted in favor of implementing the sales tax in 1969!!!


John McClaughry December 15, 2018 at 1:26 pm

Mr. O’Callaghan is correct. I proposed an amendment to Gov. Davis’s 1969 tax bill to terminate the new 3% sales tax after the $6 million deficit was retired (maybe 3 years) – and was hooted down by my fellow Republicans. I voted for the bill without it. I should have offered the amendment on the floor and voted no if it wasn’t adopted.
In 1991 the Snelling-Wright tax hike bill raised the sales tax to 5%, sunsetting it back to 4% at end of FY 1994. In the Senate I voted No on the bill. A month into FY95 Gov. Howard Dean (D) called a special session to reinstate it to 5%.


Patrick Farrington December 10, 2018 at 8:24 pm

Vermont has become a caricature of itself. The rest of the world doesn’t hold its breath everyday waiting to see what a state of 600k people is doing next on its socialistic agenda. All their self-aggrandizing is the equivalent of a social media selfie that disappears after a few hours and nets zero impact. Get it together Vermont – you’re in serious trouble and need to focus on things that actually benefit the state, not that make a statement.


Greyling Van Alstyne December 14, 2018 at 11:18 pm

Good article,
Something that I have noticed and commented on in the past year or so, is young people who basically grew up in the Obama years depression do not spend their hard earned dollars on Large houses, Large Houses astronomical Taxes, and New Expensive cars.
Thank God they are way smarter than that. They tend to live as inexpensively as possible, and if that means moving to somewhere where it takes less dollars to live, that is what they do!


Deanne December 15, 2018 at 12:12 am

Although it’s not paradise over here in New Hampshire, I must say that when we were moving back home to New England and trying to decide where to settle (1998-2000), we chose New Hampshire over Vermont, largely because of Act 60, as well as the apparent (and now obvious) slide toward socialist policies.

Just this summer, I have met two couples of retirement age who have moved from Vermont to New Hampshire. The reason? Vermont taxes were too burdensome. This is despite the very large property tax we pay here, about half of which is (pay for it whether you use it or not) school tax.

Although I wouldn’t brag much on New Hampshire as far as taxes go (although thankfully the bad news comes in one package – divided into two bills annually – so at least we know exactly what the damage is), Vermont appears to be even worse.

I have also known healthy, able-bodied young people who milk the Vermontpelier cow for all its worth – some even limiting their income according to the benefits they will qualify for.

It doesn’t appear that Vermont voters are getting any wiser. Unfortunately.


Doreen December 15, 2018 at 12:18 am

My husband and I just moved across the river to relative freedom in New Hampshire leaving Vernon, Vermont behind. Alex was an engineer at Vermont Yankee and was able to retire from the plant after it’s forced closure. We had enough of Vermont’s attitude and taxes. I feel liberated.


mike December 15, 2018 at 1:57 pm

There is nothing new about all these comments. The real problem continues to be with the prog/dem/liberal legislature in Montpelier. As long as these folks continue to get eldcted and reelected, NOTHING WILL CHANGE!!!!


Kyle December 16, 2018 at 1:28 am

Quite true. I fear the national political landscape seeped into VT even more this past election with the liberals gaining a veto proof majority. With such a majority elected by the citizens of VT, it would seem that the majority of people are in favor of their policies. As the EAI makes the case these policies are actually harmful, why do the majority of Vermonters support and keep electing them? You only touch a hot stove once.. right?


Myron December 17, 2018 at 1:06 pm

We raised 5 children in VT and two of the have become residents, homeowners and employees of the Granite State. Another is a resident of Maine who is entertaining multiple job offers (mechanical engineer) throughout NH and is prepared to make the move this coming year. Our fourth child makes the commute (along with myself and MANY other VT commuters) down the I-89 corridor to work in the Granite State. Our youngest son is committed to the military upon graduation this year. He has no plans to move back to VT.
I have been hoping and praying that the Silent Majority that lives here in Vermont will awaken and vote these liberal legislators out and that common sense will once again be practiced in Montpelier.
While we love the Vermont of our ancestors, time is running out and this will become the land of the blind who sacrifice common sense for an unsustainable heart-driven agenda and political landscape. What’s it going to take?


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