Flemming: Vermont unaffordability overshadows unique benefits

By David Flemming

Wallethub completed an extremely compelling survey which looks at the “best states for millennials.” Vermont didn’t do too shabby, coming in at No. 13 out of 51 states and Washington, D.C., for those age age 24-37. We ranked among the top 20 states for Education & Health, Quality of Life, Civic Engagement and Economic Health.

I am betting Vermont would be lower on Economic Health if Wallethub took into account our pension liabilities and recent credit downgrade, which are already beginning to eat away at our economic growth in the coming years. Regardless, the Affordability component paints a sobering, poignant picture of a Vermont that is out of reach to most millennials.

Flemming: “Millennials living here can’t fully appreciate an education system and a more knowledgeable citizenry unless Vermont’s affordability improves.”

We ranked No. 49 in Affordability for millennials, coming in just ahead of the last two states, Rhode Island and Hawaii. The Affordability score is actually a composite score of several measures, including “monthly earnings,” “cost of living” and “cost of housing.” The study did not elaborate on Vermont’s “monthly earnings” score, but I was able to find a Business Insider report on millennial income that uses Census 2017 data. Vermont’s millennials made $38,000 on average in 2017, tied with Maine for the lowest millennial median income in New England.

Even if you buy into Vermont’s high ranking for Education & Health, Quality of Life and Civic Engagement, I doubt that the half of the Vermont millennials making $38,000 or less a year care all that much about such long-term considerations as education and civic engagement. If you can’t afford to live in Vermont, high voting rates and phenomenal education opportunities for your children don’t count for much.

Millennials living here can’t fully appreciate an education system and a more knowledgeable citizenry unless Vermont’s affordability improves. Millennials from other states are even more sensitive to such considerations. Vermont millennials trying to find a more affordable house are put off by the moving costs and inconvenience may dissuade native from leaving. But out-of-state millennials willing to consider a move to Vermont are even more sensitive to such concerns, eliminating Vermont from the running.

Vermont needs to fix its affordability problem.

David Flemming is a policy analyst for the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Alex

7 thoughts on “Flemming: Vermont unaffordability overshadows unique benefits

  1. Vermonts big public education monopoly aggressively labels an inordinate number of children as “special needs” these children do not count into the skewed education results for our state. Thankfully we have many wonderful independent schools who understand and allow Vermont children to flourish.

  2. Millenials generally live in the moment, don’t care to look at the “golden years” and are in most cases fiscally irresponsible because their baby boomer parents have “carried” them all thru their life..

    They tend to bury their head in the sand when it comes to the economic, income & job woes of the average middle age Vermonter who is struggling to pay their property tax, mortgage & health insurance…

    So, if we want to sell this place on “quality of life at a premium price”
    So be it..

  3. My wife and I are tail end Gen X folks. When we moved from VT we took new jobs. Our family income was about par with what we made in VT. However, in essence we received about a 10% raise on our incomes as the cost of living in our new state is about 30% less then in VT. Now a few years extracted from VT our incomes have increased ~4% a year since moving. Our family never saw increases in income like that on a year over year bases in VT.

    Words out folks.Vermont is an EXPENSIVE place to live and raise children. Everyone I talk to down here have pretty much a verbatim response when they find out where we are from.

    “I’ve heard it’s really beautiful in Vermont, but also really expensive to live there”

    My reply; “It is beautiful but it’s death by a million taxes up there, and it gets worse every year”

  4. Question: if Vermont is such a great place for the younger folks, why do those who were born here, attened high school here never return after graduating from an out of state college???? Perhaps they are aware of something overlooked in the analysis. Rest my case.

    • Vermont was over run in the 60’s and 70’s by young outsiders, later came those that were running from the rat race they created in other States. They brought their way of thinking here and got into the local and State governments and turned us into a what they left.

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