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Young People... Come Back!
Where We Live - with John Dankosky
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In this episode:

Current troubling demographic trends could impact Connecticut's economic future


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51:59 minutes (24.96 MB)
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James Johnson, Director of the Urban Investment Strategies CenterJames Johnson, Director of the Urban Investment Strategies CenterDemographic trends in Connecticut are pointing to a looming crisis. The state has lost more young workers than any other since 1990.

You can run off dozens of reasons why young people are leaving Connecticut at such a rapid pace after college - and heading south: Warmer weather, lower taxes, more jobs - and most importantly, cheaper housing. The loss of young workers costs our urban areas vibrancy, and has employers struggling to fill posts.

It's a song we've heard before:

Connecticut is losing it's young professionals at a rapid rate.
Companies are having a hard time filling jobs.
The state is getting older....fast.

And, the reasons - another common refrain:

High cost of living.
High cost of living.
High cost of living.

Today, where we live, we'll talk with Demographer Peter Francese - a forecaster for The New England Economic Partnership - about why the region is losing people and what we can do about it.

We'll also call down to the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina - one of the fastest-growing areas in the country - and one that's rapidly recruiting our future workforce. We'll ask what strategies they're using that Connecticut can apply.Peter Francese, Principle Demographer of the New England Economic ProjectPeter Francese, Principle Demographer of the New England Economic Project

Read Kevin Miner's Op-Ed in the Hartford Courant

To see pictures of Where We Live's in-studio guests, please go to our Flickr page.

can contact us via email at [email protected].

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email to [email protected]

Dear Where We Live,

I listened with great interest to this program. Almost 40 years ago, I left Connecticut for Massachusetts. It was a decision I never regretted. I returned in 2006. In that time I purchased a home. What strikes me as a homeowner in CT vs. MA, is my tax dollar buys less than they did in MA. Yet I pay the same amount and live in a similar home. When I left CT in 1969, it was a very well run state with a small tax burden. Indeed, we in CT called the Bay State, Taxachusetts. In the intervening years, CT has outstripped MA in taxes and in delivering fewer services.

I must say that among the New England States, I find CT has the fewest advantages among the six. Taxes, housing, cost of living, the need to travel to find amenities make Connecticut unattractive. I am not sports minded, yet even I find the lack of sports surprising. Good museums, restaurants, coffee shops even just shopping mean additional travel time. And I live in Fairfield County! As a teenager, I loved the local pizza and grinder shops. Now it is difficult to find a decent one. When you ask why young people are leaving, you might well reverse the question and ask why would they remain?

G. Paul Adams

On Leaving CT

Hello Mr. Hardman:

Background: My daughter, graduated Simsbury High, Girl Scout Gold Award recipient, Graduated UConn School of Engineering BSMEM. Founded Sorority while at UConn. Member of Engineers Without Borders. Employed by Hamilton Sundstrand, Windsor Locks.

My experience: While daughter was in Thialand on a mission for Engineers Without Borders designing and building a fresh water transfer system for a village without water. I received a phone call from my daughters supervisor. Spoke to me about daughters absence, and was heard by me to say "quote": "I hate Engineeers Without Borders cause it interferes with work." Later when daughter returned to work, I noticed a difference in her attitude around home. Turns out she was being harrassed by her supervisor, and said person also gave my daughter a poor performance review.

Result: Daughter now works in California, aerospace, two promotions, recieved US Top Secret security clearance. Placed in charge of diversity issues at her company. Four weeks vacation, much better benefits package. Biggest result - She's happy.

Feedback: Connecticut people are basically cold and mean spirited and that carries over to the work place. Although they are an untrustable, debased, selfish breed, full of corruption, I'm glad I was treated like crap because I may have stayed behind in that ugly place longer than I did.

Message to me: What the hell are you doing in that dump, father.

email to [email protected]


I am 23 years old with a bachelor's degree and about $60,000 in school
loan debt. I moved to Connecticut from Buffalo, NY hearing about this
issue for a couple years before I even moved. Even still, I understand
that recently graduated students are leaving CT because of housing. My
girlfriend - who has lived in CT all her life - has seen all of her
friends leave CT for North Carolina, California, and Florida. However, I
see salary and housing as relative. I would not be making what I am
making now (about 40,000) for what I am doing if I stayed in Buffalo.
And I would not be getting the house we will be moving into soon in
Buffalo i.e. a 5min walk to the [ocean] water.

We are moving into a house in Branford within about a month's time even
with my debt and it will cost a bit less than our rent cost in New
Haven! Granted, we chose a more expensive apartment but that is just my
point, I could easily afford $800 a month on an apartment myself on my
current salary and that includes my debt.

Essentially I have been hearing about jobs, housing, and school debt for
the reasons for students to leave CT yet salary and housing is what
appealed me to moving here. Maybe my girlfriend and I are lucky to have
found our jobs in the IT and pharmaceutical industry with our degrees
but we are doing very well and are very happy with what we have.

My .02


email to [email protected]

I am a transplant from Minneapolis Minnesota to Hartford. It was my job that brought me to CT and I am very thankful for it, but since relocating here 2 years ago it has been very striking to see the 'brain drain' of the 20-40 something's from CT. NO ONE IS HERE. To counter that point however I realize that my friends here are from a variety of business sectors (ranging from insurance to aerospace engineering to biotech) are now one is from CT. My point is that even though my friends and I are not from CT all of us were able to find JOBS in Connecticut, so why do CT natives struggle to find what we have? CT is not perfect but it does have great potential! The jobs are here but in my opinion the 20-40 something's do not want to work as a community to make it a better place to live, they want something established already like 'CARY' in NC.

great program!

- Elizabeth Byron

Why I'm leaving CT

I am a graduate student at Wesleyan. My wife and I have lived in downtown Atlanta for the past five years. We love cold weather and when we moved up here, we bought a condo and planned on starting a family here. But the reason that we would never actually start or raise a family here is the rampant and ubiquitous drug crime and behavior that goes on everywhere in Middletown. That is why we will leave Connecticut. I have never lived in a place where I felt this unsafe. And the police don't seem to care about stopping any of it.