March 4, 2006


Vermont Losing Prized Resource as Young Depart (PAM BELLUCK, 3/04/06, NY Times)

This state of beautiful mountains and popular ski resorts, once a magnet for back-to-the-landers, is losing young people at a precipitous clip.

Vermont, with a population of about 620,000, now has the lowest birth rate among states. Three-quarters of its public schools have lost children since 2000.

Vermont also has the highest rate of students attending college out of their home state — 57 percent, up from 36 percent 20 years ago. Many do not move back. The total number of 20- to 34-year-olds in Vermont has shrunk by 19 percent since 1990.

Vermont's governor, Jim Douglas, is treating the situation like a crisis. He proposes making Vermont the "Silicon Valley" of environmental technology companies to lure businesses and workers; giving college scholarships requiring students to stay in Vermont for three years after graduating; relaxing once-sacrosanct environmentally driven building restrictions in some areas to encourage more housing; and campaigning in high schools and elementary schools to encourage students "to focus now on making a plan to stay in Vermont," said Jason Gibbs, a spokesman for Mr. Douglas.

Mr. Douglas said: "There's an exodus of young people. It's dramatic. We need to reverse it. The consequences of not acting are severe."

When your main import is secular flatlanders you're headed for disaster. The solution is to start recruiting religious Latinos.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 4, 2006 9:12 AM

"The solution is to start recruiting religious Latinos."

I didn't realize they were that short of superstitious idol worshiping housekeepers.

Posted by: NC3 at March 4, 2006 9:58 AM

Maybe not Latinos, but Vermont does have a rapidly rising population of Indians and Pakistanis. A friend of mine is switching from dairy cows to meat goats to cater to that population.

Posted by: Bryan at March 4, 2006 10:21 AM

Nice demonstration that, once again, environmentalism is the enemy of human society.

Posted by: David Cohen at March 4, 2006 10:32 AM


Neat little shot at Our Lady of Guadalupe. Your sense of enlightened debate skills are a wonder to behold .

Posted by: Brad S at March 4, 2006 11:00 AM

A sure sign that the hippie counter culture movement is indeed dead and now buried. Graduates of Vermont colleges are mostly kids of the rich and famous, the former guv, Howard Dean is a prototype. Hanging around Vermont pretending to be one with the natives isn't chic anymore. Going home to start raking in the big bucks is the new paradigm.

Vermonters better think about getting off the welfare roles and start taking their lives into their own hands like they did before the flatlander pimps corrupted them and coerced them into playing supporting roles in their charades.

We witnessed the worst of it for about fifteen years during the mid-seventies to late eighties. People living without heat and many times without electricity who, when they needed to attend a board meeting on Wall Street, had the family jet or helicopter come collect them rather than risk hob-nobbing with the great unwashed on a commercial flight. It was sickening.

Posted by: erp at March 4, 2006 11:25 AM

You speak of Vermont natives as if they were some naive savage tribe "corrupted" by evil modern ways. The slow shift of Vermont back to its old conservative root is less the stupid natives (as you paint them) casting off liberal flatlander colonialism and more the liberal flatlander colonialists being absorbed into the great bedrock of old Vermont conservativism. I myself am a case in point. When I first moved up here at the age of 18 I was as liberal as they come. 14 years of living here and I'm more conservative than ever. Of course, some of that is due to not being an idiot 18 year-old anymore and actually having to earn a living on my own, but a lot of it is from having to work and live every day in this place.

Posted by: Bryan at March 4, 2006 12:07 PM


If they weren't short of the "superstitious" they wouldn't be a dying state.

Posted by: oj at March 4, 2006 12:28 PM

Given the problems the Dean campaign had explaining why his administration in Vermont employed virtually no minorities, odds are Howard's supporters would be standing at the schoolhouse door if there was any attempt to actually bring Latinos into the state.

Posted by: John at March 4, 2006 1:32 PM


They don't have any choice. Look at Japan which doesn't want any but is being forced to accept them just to fill jobs.

Posted by: oj at March 4, 2006 1:36 PM

We should all be thankful that Western Little Canada is there. Otherwise there'd be no alternatives to making fun of West Virginia hillbillies, NoDaks and Seattle.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at March 4, 2006 3:44 PM


And the problem with making fun of Seattle is.....?

Posted by: Kirk Parker at March 4, 2006 4:46 PM

I speak of Vermont natives as a formerly proud independent people many of whom have been corrupted into the easy money of

who have been corrupted by the welfare mentality. Not every single one

Posted by: erp at March 4, 2006 4:58 PM

Bryan, We lived and worked in a Vermont college town for almost 15 years. Our youngest son went to junior and senior high school there, so we are very familiar with the culture. The high school served all the surrounding towns, so we got to know dirt poor farm workers whose kids went to school with our kid as well as fabulously wealthy house-hold-name parents of college students we met through college connections.

So, I can tell you I know from which I speak.

I'm not painting Vermont natives as stupid by any means. Many, not all of them of course, were corrupted by Flatlanders who wanted quaint -- they wanted to see smoke coming out of chimneys on broken down shacks buried deep in the snow. Their kids wanted to be counter-culture and pretend they lived in those picturesque shacks. To serve that end, Vermont became Appalachia north.

I'm delighted that things are turning around and Vermonters can once again be known for their hard-headed independence. Many of our neighbors were the finest, most forthright people I have ever known and their opinions of flatlanders wouldn't be fit to print in a family newspaper.

Posted by: erp at March 4, 2006 5:32 PM

It's too easy.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at March 4, 2006 6:02 PM

From a tourist's perspective, all that undoubted charm and beauty can't hide the fact that it is the most kid-unfriendly place in North America.

Posted by: Peter B at March 5, 2006 10:20 AM