Thursday, June 19, 2008

Maine Drain

I'm glad to read someone else is tired of the same old brain drain political refrain:

An analysis by Kate Reilly, the state economist, suggests that Maine isn't losing young people to other states -- we're just losing them to the next age group. People are aging, and there simply aren't as many young people being born in Maine to take their place.

Reilly puts forward the theory that Maine's population is aging because we are not diverse enough. The median age in Maine in 2006 is 41.1 years, compared to the national median of 36.4. The median age of white Americans isn't much different than Maine's 41.1 median age. Maine is one of the whitest states in the nation, with 95 percent of Maine residents identifying themselves as white alone.

Reilly's analysis included some rough calculations that showed that, if Maine had the same racial mix as the rest of the United States, our birth rate would have been 14 percent higher.

As we approach the general election later this year and an all-too-soon gubernatorial campaign in another 12 months or so, maybe we should encourage the candidates to stop the expected annual lament about Maine's brain drain.

Instead, they should focus on how we might leverage and take advantage of the findings of the Brooking Institution and find ways to attract more minorities and immigrants to Maine.

I don't have anything to add other than huzzah!

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