The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving recently released its annual regional indicators report, looking at key issues facing the region.
Last year, the foundation’s report focused on access to schools, jobs, neighborhoods, and access to opportunities, as well as the opportunities and challenges of increased cultural and linguistic diversity.
This year, the group focused on the next generation of residents, mobility, job growth, education, and civic engagement in the context of declining state and local resources.
This is a summary of the Hartford Foundation’s findings. Future stories on Trend CT will godeeper into these topics and the data analyzed by the group.
By 2020, millennials are projected to be the largest workforce segment in the Metro Hartford region.
Many of the region’s millennials are not high-mobility college-educated individuals. Population numbers by opportunity level show that 45 percent of the 18- to 34-year-olds in our region live in low or very low opportunity neighborhoods, and most of the inflows from out of state are to the same neighborhoods.
The Metro Hartford region retains the fewest four-year graduates of any metro region in the country, with 60 percent of recent graduates citing “jobs” as their primary reason for leaving.
Young people are leaving
College graduates, individuals with advanced degrees and older residents are moving out of Connecticut and the Hartford metro area, while younger and less educated people are moving in.
This out-migration increases budget challenges as taxpayers leave the region and businesses lose customers.
From 2012 to 2014, the net migration of taxpayer income out of the region was more than $912 million.
Improving transit options
The Hartford region’s residents of all age groups prefer to live in areas they can easily access by public transportation or walking.
Many in the region endure long commutes, especially low-income residents who spend time traveling to jobs in the suburbs that are not easily accessible via public transportation.
Barely any job growth
During the past 25 years, the Hartford metro area has had some of the slowest growth compared to others across the country.
Among the 100 largest metropolitan areas, Hartford ranks 21st in share of jobs in advanced industries but is 74th when it comes to growth in jobs in advanced industries.
According to the analysis, most future job openings will be high-wage jobs that require advanced degrees or low-skill jobs with high turnover and wages that cannot sustain a family of four.
The Hartford Foundation said that with the decline of regional government involvement, local groups must collaborate to drive initiatives.
To attract and retain millennials, some towns are expanding public transportation and creating walkable areas, the foundation said. Colleges are expanding their presence in downtown areas. Groups focused on networking young professionals are increasing.
Hubs for innovation are being created, as well as regional collaboratives that help bridge school-to-workplace development, and there are opportunities for new local and federal sources for worker funding.