Monday, December 01, 2014

Rural Idaho's young adults fleeing for jobs in other states; small businesses are suffering

Rural Idaho is losing its young adult population, and small businesses are suffering because of it, Aubrey Wieber reports for the Post Register in Idaho Falls. From 2009 to 2013, Idaho had 74,643 more people move into the state than leave, and 42 percent of those people were 51 or older. During that same time period, the state lost 1,817 people 20 and under and lost 55,655 people 30 and under.

Chris Tucker, vice principal of South Fremont High School in St. Anthony, Idaho, "said recent graduates generally leave for three reasons: a religious mission, college or better employment opportunities," Wieber writes. "Most students want to stay in town, he said, but end up seeking more lucrative job opportunities elsewhere." (Post Register photo by Monte LaOrange: Harry Halkar's printing business has survived in St. Anthony while many others have closed shop)

Many of Idaho's rural towns offer few job opportunities for recent high school or college graduates, Wieber writes. That means many young people are heading out of state to find better job opportunities, and towns like St. Anthony, with a population of 3,500, are suffering, as more and more local businesses are forced to shut down.

Harry Halkar, whose printing business has survived in St. Anthony for 30 years, told Wieber, "I've seen so many businesses come and go. I don't know what it's going to take to see things change for the better." (Read more)

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