Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Poll: "Youth Flight"

Today's Post-Journal poll deals with an issue that isn't directly legal in nature, but is of interest to me personally and academically (in my other role as a policy wonk and occasional college instructor): why do young people leave upstate NY?

There has already been considerable blogspace devoted to this topic, including an excellent discussion hosted by York Staters with numerous points of view. My comment, related mostly to the P-J poll, is that when I was 18, 22, or 25, I was looking for a general quality of life and it was more about where I would be able to have a life (friends/family/activities) than the overarching economic trends.

"Youth flight" (sidenote: I despise the term "brain drain", catchy as it may be, because numerous people with "brains" do remain in these depressed regions, for whatever reason) is a fact of life. I can remember reading literature about the same phenomena in rural towns and small cities in Scotland and Russia when writing my thesis in grad school. It isn't an upstate NY-only situation. Younger people tend to seek a more cosmopolitan and exciting experience, or at least an experience where parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles aren't next door, watching over their every action. A better climate for business may reduce some of the flight, but there needs to be an understanding that it isn't solely an economic issue.

But that's roughly my two cents, and regular law-related postings will resume soon.


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