Survey: Young people face ‘aloneness,’ lack of cultural opportunities in N.H.

  • Survey results from Stay, Work, Play about young people in New Hampshire. Jonathan Van Fleet—

  • Survey results from Stay, Work, Play about young people in New Hampshire. Jonathan Van Fleet—

Monitor staff
Published: 5/21/2018 3:37:21 PM

One-fifth of young people in New Hampshire say they don’t have a friend who lives close by and 1 in 4 have no family members that are easily accessible, according to the results of a survey conducted by the nonprofit organization Stay Work Play and electric utility Eversource.

Some of the top challenges for attracting young people to live in the Granite State is a sense of aloneness, unfriendly public policy on issues important to young professionals and a perceived lack of opportunity – both professional and cultural – said Stay Work Play Executive Director Will Stewart.

“The biggest thing that surprised me was the fact that 1 in 5 – 21 percent of survey respondents – said they didn’t have a single friend nearby,” Stewart said, as he discussed some of the survey’s findings at the Red River Theatres on Monday in Concord. “That’s sad on a personal level. But on a workforce development level, it’s also disturbing because if somebody doesn’t have a friend here, they have no real connections to the state.”

The main goal of Stay Work Play is to attract and retain young people to the Granite State – “young people” defined as anyone in the 20-40 years old.

Stewart explained the idea for the survey came about when Stay Work Play was looking for “data-driven” solutions to the state’s dearth of young people.

“We needed to have some hard numbers on what young people are thinking, what their concerns are, and be able to identify those and ultimately address them,” Stewart said.

The survey asked participants to share their thoughts on why people would want to live in or leave New Hampshire. Stewart said the survey found the most positive reasons for staying include access to ample outdoor recreation, high-quality public schools, safety, the environment and the abundance of locally owned stores. Some of New Hampshire’s image problems included the lack of affordable housing, the need for better access to child care, and the perceived lack of cultural and entertainment opportunities.

Stewart said the data from the survey will be invaluable to lawmakers and representatives of young professional groups who were in attendance, as they can use the data to look at policy reform and to better educate young people.

A full summary of the all the survey data will be available later in the summer, Stewart said.

The survey’s questions were posed to 420 randomly selected “young” residents of New Hampshire. Questions were asked from Dec. 8 through Dec. 25 by the RKM Research group of Portsmouth.

The survey was conducted in a pertnership between Stay Work Play and Eversource, a utility that struggles to attract and retain workers.

Here are more of the survey’s findings:

– 69 percent of those surveyed have been living in the state for five years or less,

– 45 percent moved to New Hampshire with their family when they were younger, while 20 percent moved to be with someone,

– 28 percent were 25-29 years old while another 28 percent were 35-40 years old,

– 17 percent were currently enrolled in a college, university or post-secondary school in New Hampshire, while 48 percent had been enrolled at one point,

– Eight percent of the respondents are self-employed, while 26 percent are not employed,

– 75 percent of the respondents work full time, while 86 percent of those surveyed work in the state,

– 19 percent were looking for a job in the college degree “skilled labor, entry level” field, while 11 percent didn’t feel as though they need to or want to work,

– 23 percent of people said they were “completely satisfied” with New Hampshire; 4 percent were “not satisfied,”

– 19 percent said they “definitely would not” move out of New Hampshire in the next two years, while 14 percent said they “definitely would” move out of the state; 22 percent were unsure.

(Jacob Dawson can be reached at 369-3325, or on Twitter @jaked156.)

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