Survey of Young N.H. Residents Tries to Find Why They Stay ... And Why They Don’t
A new survey of New Hampshire's younger residents seeks to understand what attracts -- and what deters -- this age group from sticking with the Granite State.
Researchers polled 420 people between the ages of 20 and 40. Only 19 percent of respondents said they definitely would not leave the state in the next two years and lack of affordable housing was a key concern.
“With the rising housing costs, that’s a significant barrier, I would like to buy a home in the next couple of years,” says Paula Hodges, member of the demographic in question and an attendee during the presentation of survey findings.
Stay Work Play, the non-profit that commissioned the survey, found "aloneness" a "top challenge" represented in the data.
"Twenty-one percent of 20-40 year-olds in New Hampshire reported not having a single friend nearby,” says Will Stewart, Executive Director of Stay Work Play. "It's sad on a personal level, but even from a workforce-development perspective, it's disturbing."
Stewart believes without connections to the community this demographic is more likely to leave.
Proximity to the outdoors and quality schools were rated high as reasons to stay.
"This group said they really prized New Hampshire's environment,” says Stewart. “So we really need to protect that and make sure that does not decline."
According to Stewart, Stay Work Play is forming a government affairs committee to advocate for policy based on the survey's findings.
Eversource Energy sponsored the survey, which was administered by RKM Research. Bill Quinlan, Eversource President of Operations in New Hampshire, says difficulties in attracting and retaining a workforce aren’t unique to his company.
“I sit on many corporate boards, many here in New Hampshire, and it’s a universal challenge particularly throughout New England,” Quinlan said.