Connecticut’s death spiral just sped up. Sad to report that, for a third year in a row, no new residents wanted to move into the state. Absolutely no one. And that should terrify everyone.
OZY, a daily digital magazine, says the state’s general population shrunk again. This time, however, the state saw the exodus of some of its most valuable residents. GE finally up and left and now Aetna says it’ll follow close behind.
Between 2015 to 2016, the state lost an additional 14,000 residents. Unfortunately, those numbers will only deepen thanks to the ongoing financial crisis and additional threats from our biggest anchor businesses. On top of that, we ended our last fiscal year $22.7 million in debt and made it to month 4 with no new budget.
Also, with two of our biggest businesses leaving for Boston and New York City, it begs to question just how Connecticut as a whole can compete with these two booming cities. What do they have that we don’t?
The biggest issue is young workers and their demands. The next generation of workers want to live in urban areas with plenty of activities to do that allows them to connect and meet with new people. Plus, they want a competitive salary and low taxes.
The latter are two things Connecticut really can’t compete with. As for our entertainment offerings, we have several opportunities – but not nearly on the same scale as NYC.
Connecticut was once attractive. Baby boomers and Generation X flocked to Connecticut for its educational institutions and beautiful scenery. On top of that, CT remained one of the safest areas to raise a family.
Unfortunately, Connecticut didn’t change with the times and still markets itself as it did in the 80’s. New residents don’t want rolling hills and good schools, they want short commute times and excitement.
Not to mention, millennials are the least married and most childless generation. Millennials also happened to be the first generation to be paid less than the previous one. Add that millennials happen to be the most educated generation, which also means student loans. Meaning, millennials also happen to be the most indebted generation.
So, that’s why no one wants to move to Connecticut. These young residents don’t want to start a family. They want to pay off their student loans and afford a roof over their head, first. Which, unfortunately, will take a while.
Considering Connecticut also has some of the highest rental and housing prices in the nation, that also works against us in attracting new workers. You may want to work here all you want, but you can only do that if you can find an affordable place to live.
Not to mention, our woefully high taxes which also take a hefty bite out of our paychecks. So, living in CT is like a financial juggling act that many find too difficult and burdensome to deal with. Why jump through all these hoops when you can live in a city with mass transportation and competitive apartment pricing?
Also, good to note, millennials also own the least amount of cars out of all other generations, too. And Connecticut doesn’t offer many mass transportation options besides Metro North and that bus line to nowhere… Perhaps a few city line buses, but that’s about it. If you live in Connecticut and don’t have a car, you’re SOL.
So, let’s recap. Connecticut lost residents due to its high taxes, fiscal crisis, inability to compete with major cities, and hasn’t updated its PR package since the 1980’s. Unless this state becomes more affordable to young workers, the state will see another drop in its population next year.
Can Connecticut catch up with NYC and Boston? Perhaps. But not fast enough. Connecticut needs to reinvent itself in order to survive and that’ll take a lot of soul searching.
What do you think will happen to CT? Will the state turn itself around in time or will we lose more and more valuable residents until the ship capsizes?