Vacationers to Vermont dream of staying forever. But for many Vermonters trapped in the state’s struggling economy, opportunities in other states are convincing them to flee the Green Mountains for greener pastures.
It’s no secret Vermonters are leaving the state.
When researchers behind the Vermont Roots Migration Project set out to discover why people migrate in or out of Vermont, they could not have anticipated the startling results of their inquiry.
Of the nearly 3,700 people ages 15 to 91 who responded to their survey, 51 percent said they had left Vermont permanently, despite growing up in the state.
According to the researchers, the top two reasons people offered for leaving were, “My work is located outside Vermont,” and, “I can earn more money outside of Vermont.”
For Chris Campion, a life-long Vermonter and a former resident of Essex Junction, those are the reasons he left for a new life in North Carolina.
“If I wanted to earn more money and have more career opportunities, it wasn’t going to be in Vermont,” Campion told Vermont Watchdog.
After working for organizations including General Dynamics, Keurig Green Mountain Coffee, Champlain College and the University of Vermont Medical Center, the 47-year-old business analyst became frustrated with the lack of growth opportunities and began looking elsewhere.
Since switching states in March, Campion’s salary has jumped 65 percent, and he’s already in line for a promotion. Moreover, he says his cost of living on everything from energy bills to groceries is about 10 percent more affordable, freeing the new North Carolinian to attain new horizons.
“These are the opportunities that just do not happen in Vermont. That’s why I moved,” he said.
The long-time Vermonter hadn’t planned on leaving. While working at Champlain College, Campion spent extra hours earning his MBA in expectation of enjoying his state’s grandeur for a lifetime. But when a former colleague from General Dynamics told him about opportunities in the Tar Heel State, the frustrated resident packed his things and didn’t look back.
“He asked me if I was interested in moving, and I said yes. Within the space of three weeks I had the job and was in a car driving south.”
An earlier version of this article appeared at http://watchdog.org/224275/vermonters-fleeing-state/. Used with permission.