Stay Work Play announces top issues facing young people in New Hampshire

Unaffordable housing, lack of diversity, and difficulty meeting people cited as top concerns

Speaking at the organization’s legislative reception this morning in the State House cafeteria, Stay Work Play Executive Director Will Stewart said young people in New Hampshire cited unaffordable housing, lack of diversity, and difficulty meeting new people as the top reasons they might consider leaving the Granite State.

These issues were identified and prioritized by 307 young people who attended one of nine regional events as part of Stay Work Play’s Policy & Pints Pop-Up Series. The nine events were held across the state between September 2019 and January 2020. Aimed at helping to inform Stay Work Play’s 2020 non-partisan, issues-based legislative advocacy efforts, the series brought together young people, aged 21-39, in the various regions of the state to discuss the issues most impacting their decisions to stay in, or leave, New Hampshire as a whole, as well as the specific regions in which they live and work. The top three findings from each region are:

Greater Concord

  • Unaffordable housing 
  • Lack of diversity
  • Lack of adequate public revenue

Greater Manchester

  • Unaffordable housing
  • Lack of affordable child care
  • Lack of educational funding

Greater Nashua

  • Unaffordable housing 
  • Lack of diversity
  • Lack of equality in K-12 schools

Lakes Region

  • Unaffordable housing
  • Lack of affordable child care
  • Lack of year-round opportunities

Monadnock

  • High cost of living
  • Lack of young people in politics
  • Over-reliance on property taxes

Mt. Washington Valley

  • Unaffordable housing
  • Lower wages
  • Difficulting meeting new people

North Country

  • Unaffordable housing
  • Lack of quality jobs
  • Lack of environmental protection

Seacoast

  • Unaffordable housing
  • Lack of diversity
  • Difficulting meeting people

Upper Valley

  • High cost of living
  • Lack of cultural diversity
  • Difficulting meeting people

In addition to identifying challenges, the discussions also looked at potential policy solutions for which the organization might advocate at the state capitol as well as the top reasons that young people stay in New Hampshire.

“Young people in the state said they love the access to world-class outdoor recreation here in New Hampshire, our growing arts and culture scene, and their ability to get involved and make a difference here. But young people here are very worried about their ability to afford to live in New Hampshire, as well as our state’s lack of diversity and how challenging it can be to meet new people here,” Stewart said. “It’s imperative we all begin to address these issues as New Hampshire needs all of the young people we can get.”

One-page infographics featuring highlights from the regional discussions — including the top reasons people stay in the regions, the top reasons they might leave, as well as a few potential solutions to these challenges — will be shared with state and local policymakers, planners, economic development officials, and others. This infographics are also available for viewing and download at stayworkplay.org/policy-and-pints.

The Policy & Pints Pop-Up Series was supported by New Hampshire Housing and The Nature Conservancy in New Hampshire.

About Stay Work Play

Stay Work Play New Hampshire is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is “to attract and retain more young people in New Hampshire.” Learn more at stayworkplay.org.

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