Age Cohort, Ed Attainment, and Migration

New England’s strong base of young professionals is due to the high educational attainment of its 25-39 year olds. At issue is the rate of growth in that cohort in N.E. has slowed (overall, 21% fewer young adults in 2007 than in 1990) while in other parts of the country it is growing. Still, research by the New England Public Policy Center shows that all the N.E. states but Maine, exceed the national average for young adults as a percentage of the total adult population.

And young people in N.E. during that timeframe have made rapid gains in educational attainment, outpacing the national average. In Vermont, our cohort shrunk 19% (the bad news), but the percentage change in those holding BA’s increased 7 percentage points (the good news). Massachusetts saw the same shrinkage in cohort, but realized an 11 percentage point increase in those holding BA’s. Only Maine is below the N.E. or national average. So who are these individuals ~ are they members of Red Sox Nation, “people from away”, or immigrants?

As a whole the share of N.E.’s young professionals actually born in N.E. is roughly the same in 2007 as it was in 1990; around half. Interestingly, the change is among foreign-born, particularly in Massachusetts and Connecticut; their percentage more than doubled. In Vermont during this timeframe, we have seen an increase in N.E.-born young professionals (6.8%), a decline in “people from away” (-7.6%), and virtually no change among foreign-born young professionals (.8%).

If the lesson learned is that international in-migration can offset factors that otherwise retard the growth of young professionals in New England, then Vermont should consider how it can become more attractive to and inclusive of such international talent. To read more, visit