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March 08, 2006
Why Are Young People Leaving Vermont?
My two sisters are part of the exodus of young people from Vermont that the New York Times covered recently ("Vermont Losing Prized Resource As Young Depart," Mar. 4). I emailed them the NYT story and they had some interesting observations, which they've allowed me to quote.
One, who lived in Burlington, Vt., and lives in a semi-rural suburb in Connecticut now, wrote:
The reporter writes about VT as a monolith but it's made up of three very different areas: Burlington, non-ski towns and ski towns. (Remember that old joke?: The best thing about Burlington is that it's so close to Vermont...) The issues for each are completely different. I drive 20 minutes for milk in CT where I used to drive 2 minutes in Burlington. CT feels like a straitjacket to me, Burlington never did.
My other sister, who's now in a rural part of upstate New York, wrote:
It's an interesting article. My eye was caught by what the UVM pres said about VT not being able to afford its "anti-sprawl" policies if the population continues to shrink. It would seem environmentally positive for there to be fewer people, but I guess maybe that's not the case. I look around my very small town and it would seem that I can count on one hand the number of educated young single adults living [here]. I'd never live here if I weren't already married--you'd never find someone to partner with. The other thing that is starting to hit home is that choosing a rural location in which to raise children doesn't guarantee you a rural lifestyle. It seems that popular culture is just as powerful here as anywhere. The kids may not be able to afford the ipods and x-boxes and whatever else has to be had these days, but they certainly are aware of them and covet them. And just like anywhere it seems a lot of them would rather be in front of a screen than out enjoying the beauty of the place their high-minded parents chose to raise them. ...
I'm proud that my non-journalist siblings are more articulate than I am.
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