UNH Research Finds Hope in New England’s North Country


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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

DURHAM, N.H. – While residents of northern New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont remain optimistic about their quality of life, there is broad agreement that a lack of job opportunities, drug abuse and population decline are problems that need to be addressed for that optimism to continue, according to recent surveys by the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire.

“These social, economic and employment woes are not unique to the North Country, and in fact can be found in many of the rural areas of these three states and in other regions of the country as well,” the researchers said. “In some respects, the North Country’s rural, mountainous landscape offers potential advantage, not just for amenity development but lifestyle attractions that could draw other employers or for renewable energy.”

The surveys were conducted in Coös and Grafton counties in New Hampshire, Oxford County in Maine and Essex County in Vermont. Positive views of North Country life have mostly held steady, or in some cases improved, over the past 10 years.

The researchers also found views on economic development varied from county to county. Places currently having less development see tourism and recreation, light manufacturing, independent small businesses and forest-based industry as most important to their future.

The research was conducted by Lawrence Hamilton, professor of sociology and a senior fellow at the Carsey School; Linda Fogg, sociology graduate student; and Curt Grimm, deputy director of the Carsey School and a research associate professor of anthropology. Their full report can be found here:  https://carsey.unh.edu/publication/challenge-hope-nh-ncountry​.

The Carsey School of Public Policy conducts research, leadership development, and engaged scholarship relevant to public policy. They address pressing challenges, striving for innovative, responsive, and equitable solutions at all levels of government and in the for-profit and nonprofit sectors.

The University of New Hampshire is a flagship research university that inspires innovation and transforms lives in our state, nation and world. More than 16,000 students from all 50 states and 71 countries engage with an award-winning faculty in top ranked programs in business, engineering, law, liberal arts and the sciences across more than 200 programs of study. UNH’s research portfolio includes partnerships with NASA, NOAA, NSF and NIH, receiving more than $100 million in competitive external funding every year to further explore and define the frontiers of land, sea and space.