Thursday, 7 June 2018

Come work in Vermont - they'll pay you $10,000 to move

Vermont is a beautiful place. We bought some maple syrup there and, according to my son, you can't go far wrong with maple syrup. The thing is, and I don't want to upset all those fans of Vermont's socialist senator, that the Green Mountain State is the back of beyond. And this means:
Vermont, like many states, is suffering from demographic challenges. It has the fourth slowest population growth of any state since 2000. It has the lowest share of its population who are children under 18 (if you exclude the District of Columbia, a “city-state” from the figures). Vermont is also impeccably progressive, has many quaint cities and towns, and is known for natural beauty. None of these factors has driven population growth there. Population growth is not the only metric, but the situation in much of New England is not looking healthy to me, especially northern New England.
So reports Urbanophile, Aaron Renn as he explains that (in an echo of other beautiful places likes Sardinia, Switzerland and Calabria) the state is offering a bung to people who move there:
A new bill signed into law Wednesday will pay remote workers $5,000 a year for two years to make the Green Mountain State their home, as long as their employer is based somewhere else.
So you've got mountains, forest, quaint historic towns, lots of bears and that maple syrup but folk don't move there because, well, it's a long way from Boston, New York or Chicago where the jobs are. Will a little gentle incentive (ten grand's worth of incentive) work by pulling in people who write software, edit textbooks or so or other job not requiring either physical interaction with co-workers or the facilities of a city? Remains to be seen - perhaps some kind researcher might like to look at how well these sorts of schemes work - but it might answer an important question as to whether the people are in the city because the jobs are there or whether they're there for the culture, social life, drugs and sex meaning that's where the jobs go?


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