By Melissa Proulx, Staff Writer
New Hampshire is in the midst of a demographic change, and when the roughly 2,500 students walk across the University of New Hampshire stage to get their diploma on May 16 it may only add to the number of students leaving the state.
Ken Johnson, a senior demographer for the Carsey School of Public Policy, said that New Hampshire has a history and record of an aging population. Though the state has received inflow of people in their later 20s, 30s and 40s, he said that New Hampshire “in the last decade has experienced a modest loss of young people in their early 20s”.
Much of his justification for this comes from a report entitled “New Hampshire demographic trends in the twenty-first century”, which analyzed the demographics of the Granite State. The findings were published in May 2012 and based around the U.S Census data that had been collected in 2010.
In the 1990s, this outflow was a loss of roughly 5,600 or 4 percent of the people in their 20s, according to the report. The loss was greater between 2000 and 2010, when the estimated net outflow rose to 18,000 people or 10.6 percent.
The reason for this trend, he believes, is that after graduation seniors tend to move out of state to cities to find work.
“Cities have a huge magnet drawing young people to them,” Johnson said.
For some, their plans go against this trend.
Corey Collins, for example, will graduate with a degree in neuroscience. With this, he has hopes of becoming an officer in the military and plans to be based in New Hampshire when he starts his training this summer.
“I was raised here,” Collins explained when asked why he chose to stay here.
For others, the answer echoes this trend loud and clear.
Emily Schostack, a senior art therapy major, plans on going back to New Jersey in order to figure out a way to pursue a new field in culinary arts, education or writing without having to spend more money at a school.
But even when it comes to predicting where it is she might end up, her answer is simple.
“Wherever the jobs are,” she said.
Collins, who was raised in New Hampshire and said that helped to influence his decision of where to go, that many of his friends also have plans to leave and find a life elsewhere.
“It just happens with people who graduate,” he said.
With the potential for many of these seniors to travel elsewhere in the U.S., the impact on the state could be negative.
This migration means that a major part of the population is a part of the baby boomer generation, according to Johnson. Once they begin to retire in the coming years, Johnson said it could leave a void in the job market that will be hard to fill without the right demographics.
Some work is being done to combat this change, especially for one non-profit organization.
Stay, Work, Play New Hampshire is based out of Manchester, New Hampshire. With a small group of only two employees, the organization was officially started in 2009. Executive Director, Kate Luczko, said that their goal has been primarily to keep young workers in the New Hampshire.
This is done through a variety of programs, the most significant being the Rising Stars Award put on each Fall, which showcases the young professionals and college students, the methods used to keep them in the state and the work that businesses and programs do to keep them in the state as well.
“The idea through this whole process is to support the people and organizations doing really awesome things for New Hampshire,” Luczko said.
The organization also posts job and internship postings on their website and helps to work with businesses to figure out a way to attract and retain employees.
All of this work is designed to maintain the balanced demographic needed to ensure a quality workforce. While Luczko does say that older workers do play a significant role in the workforce, having the younger group as well, with their “fresh perspective”, can provide balance.
“To some extent, it’s pretty informal,” Luczko said. “But we’re looking for ways to have more of an impact.”
Hearing often that people don’t believe there are a variety of opportunities in the state to find a job to meet their needs, Luczko advises students to “make an informed decision” about where they go after graduation and know about the true benefits of staying in the state.
“You can really have an impact and you can really be known here,” Luczko said. “There’s a lot of opportunities here.”
STAY, WORK, PLAY trying to retain recent graduates in NH
By Melissa Proulx, Staff Writer