People & Places

Young Vermonters, like most Americans, tend to stay close to home, a new study finds

Nearly 6 in 10 young adult Americans live within 10 miles of where they grew up, and 8 in 10 live within 100 miles, according to a new study by the U.S. Census Bureau and Harvard University. 

The study found that the same holds for young Vermonters. 

Researchers studied where people born in the United States between 1984 and 1992 lived at ages 16 and 26. The study found that 64% of young people in the Burlington area — which it defined as Chittenden, Grand Isle, Franklin, Addison and Rutland counties — stayed. 

The other Vermont regions the researchers analyzed included portions of New Hampshire and Massachusetts, so no Vermont-specific statistics are available for the rest of the state. 

The study found that young Vermonters move farther away than other young Americans. Nationwide, young people moved, on average, 108 miles from home, but young people in the Burlington area moved 288 miles. On average, their most common destination was the Boston area, with 4.3% of young people from the Burlington area moving there, followed by the Upper Valley of Vermont and New Hampshire with 4.3% and the New York metropolitan area with 2.4%. 

The New York metropolitan area was the most popular destination for many young Vermonters of color, including Asian (6.9%), Black (6%) and Hispanic (5.2%) people. Boston was the second most popular region among those populations.

Vermont, the study found, struggles to attract young people from beyond New England. Of the young adults who moved to the Burlington area, the greatest number, 4.7%, came from the Upper Valley, followed by 3.4% from the Boston area and 2.4% from Connecticut. 

Nationwide, the study found, “the potential for better pay had a clear impact on migration decisions” for most individuals. The more educated a young person was, the greater the distance that person was likely to move. 

Whether a young person had one or two parents and how much money those parents made also had an impact on how far away that person would move. For lower-income families, children of married parents were more likely to move, but as income increased, children of single parents were more likely to move. The more money that parents made, the greater distance their children were likely to move. 

Young Asian Americans moved the greatest distances, followed by white, Hispanic and Black Americans.


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Fred Thys

About Fred

Fred Thys covers business and the economy for VTDigger. He is originally from Bethesda, Maryland, and graduated from Williams College with a degree in political science. He is the recipient of the Radio, Television, and Digital News Association's Edward R. Murrow Award for Investigative Reporting and for Enterprise Reporting. Fred has worked at The Journal of Commerce, ABC News, CBS News, CNN, NBC News, and WBUR, and has written for Le Matin, The Dallas Morning News, and The American Homefront Project.

Email: [email protected]

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